Our Evolution from BuildingBlocks to the Tolemi Platform: From data to insights

When we first launched BuildingBlocks, we were focused on getting data out of closed, legacy systems and into a centralized web application. Our goal was to give municipal staff a single place to look for any property or case record, and we aimed to stay true to how those data were kept in source systems. But we soon realized that we could do more for our users by taking the next step, giving them the insights they needed to make data-driven decisions.

Emergency Rent Relief Funds: Equal Distribution is not Equitable Distribution

For millions of housing insecure Americans, 2021 holds more fear than promise. As we write this post, the US is seeing over 2,000 deaths every day, higher than any other point during the pandemic. Jobless claims remain stubbornly high. As many as 14 million American households are at risk of eviction with an estimated $25 billion in rental debt. The promise of a vaccine adds some optimism, but realistically the public health and economic climate is not likely to improve in the near future.

Tolemi in 2021

At Tolemi, we build the data integration and insights platform that helps local governments harness the power of their data and break down departmental silos. We have come together as a team of technologists, former public servants, and data junkies to help the next generation of municipal leaders usher in a wave of data-driven government.

Reflecting on Tolemi at the Five-Year Mark

For millions of housing insecure Americans, 2021 holds more fear than promise. As we write this post, the US is seeing over 2,000 deaths every day, higher than any other point during the pandemic. Jobless claims remain stubbornly high. As many as 14 million American households are at risk of eviction with an estimated $25 billion in rental debt. The promise of a vaccine adds some optimism, but realistically the public health and economic climate is not likely to improve in the near future.

Why many are more worried about 2021 than 2020

For millions of housing insecure Americans, 2021 holds more fear than promise. As we write this post, the US is seeing over 2,000 deaths every day, higher than any other point during the pandemic. Jobless claims remain stubbornly high. As many as 14 million American households are at risk of eviction with an estimated $25 billion in rental debt. The promise of a vaccine adds some optimism, but realistically the public health and economic climate is not likely to improve in the near future.

Renters, out-of-town landlords, and institutional investors: Who’s really bringing down the neighborhood?

The economic peril from COVID-19 has reached nearly every corner of the economy, and the threat of housing insecurity looms ominously on the horizon for millions of Americans. Today we want to focus on the plight of the homeowner, just 12 years removed from the unprecedented 2008 Housing Crisis. In the near-term, temporary measures like stimulus checks, an increase to unemployment insurance, and forgivable small business loans to cover payroll amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars injected directly into the bank accounts of homeowners. For those who lost some or all their income because of COVID-19, these temporary measures provided a lifeline through the spring and summer to continue making mortgage payments. And at the height of the pandemic, many courthouses, where foreclosure notices are be filed, were closed, effectively freezing foreclosure activity entirely. Additionally, on March 18, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) enacted a moratorium on foreclosures for borrowers with mortgages backed by Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that has subsequently been extended through the end of 2020, protecting 28 million single-family homeowners. FHFA also allows these borrowers the right to request forbearance for a total of 360 days.

Foreclosure For Sale

Forbearance, foreclosures, and the dangers facing homeowners

The economic peril from COVID-19 has reached nearly every corner of the economy, and the threat of housing insecurity looms ominously on the horizon for millions of Americans. Today we want to focus on the plight of the homeowner, just 12 years removed from the unprecedented 2008 Housing Crisis. In the near-term, temporary measures like stimulus checks, an increase to unemployment insurance, and forgivable small business loans to cover payroll amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars injected directly into the bank accounts of homeowners. For those who lost some or all their income because of COVID-19, these temporary measures provided a lifeline through the spring and summer to continue making mortgage payments. And at the height of the pandemic, many courthouses, where foreclosure notices are be filed, were closed, effectively freezing foreclosure activity entirely. Additionally, on March 18, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) enacted a moratorium on foreclosures for borrowers with mortgages backed by Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that has subsequently been extended through the end of 2020, protecting 28 million single-family homeowners. FHFA also allows these borrowers the right to request forbearance for a total of 360 days.

Eviction Notice

Housing Support During COVID-19

The current eviction moratorium should be protecting housing insecure residents, but many aren’t aware of their rights. Lacking knowledge and legal representation is resulting in protected individuals being forced from their homes in the middle of a pandemic. On the other side of the transaction are the landlords, 30% of which are low to moderate income themselves. They rely on rent payments to make their own mortgage payments and as a source of income. Many homeowners are also at risk. Increases in foreclosures cost cities money and resources. How are municipalities dealing with these challenges?

Duct Tape

Stop Gap Measures

The economic pain of COVID-19 is widespread, but the scary part is that the worst may be yet to come for our most vulnerable citizens. Temporary measures in the CARES Act and other relief programs that have helped stem waves of evictions, foreclosures, layoffs, and business closures are sunsetting. What are the looming challenges and what can cities be doing today to be prepared for tomorrow?