Fresno State students are putting their real estate and design skills to the test in a project that could help a community agency develop plans to renovate its buildings.
About 30 students from the Lyles College of Engineering, the Craig School of Business and the Department of Art and Design are participating in the second annual Community Facility Challenge.
The project is organized by Fresno State and the Northern California Community Loan Fund, which provides nonprofits with housing loans.
The students are split into teams and asked to create a real estate plan -- a financial analysis, preliminary design concept, engineering review and construction schedule -- for the Poverello House, a homeless agency in Fresno.
The Poverello House is thinking about renovating its existing buildings on F Street, said Kathryn Weakland, development director.
By participating in the project, the agency gets an analysis of what a renovation could cost or look like while the students get "real world" experience in development, organizers said.
The teams will submit a written report and give an oral presentation in front of judges on April 24.
The judges will choose a winning plan that shows creativity and makes the most sense, said Andrew Hansz, director of the Gazarian Real Estate Center at Fresno State.
The proposals could be incorporated into any future development at the Poverello House, Hansz said.
More lenders join mortgage help program
More Valley homeowners should be able to qualify for mortgage help now that the number of lenders participating in a state-run mortgage assistance program has doubled.
Keep Your Home California, a $2 billion federally funded program that helps people save their homes from foreclosure, now has 101 lenders participating.
Last year at this time, 55 lenders offered homeowners help through at least one of four programs: unemployment assistance, principal mortgage reductions, payments to catch up on the mortgage or money to move if a home cannot be saved from foreclosure.
"We're very pleased that so many servicers have joined the program and are willing to take steps to help homeowners, their communities and the state recover from the downturn in the economy," said Claudia Cappio, executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, which overseas the program.
Some of the new lenders include: Union Bank, which has branches in Fresno, Springleaf Financial, which has a Fresno office, Exchange Bank, UMe Federal Credit Union and Capital One.
Two of the nation's largest banks -- Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase -- now offer principal reductions in the program. They were among the early participants but did not offer principal reductions until now.
For more information about Keep Your Home California, visit keepyourhomecalifornia.org or call (888) 954-5337.
- Real Estate Log is a compilation of real estate news from beat reporter BoNhia Lee found on The Bee's News Blog. To comment or read more, go to fresnobeehive.com/news