Scaffolding Boards Wed, 18 May 2022 22:17:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scaffolding Boards 32 32 Health officials say a third of Americans live in areas with so many viruses that masks should be considered Wed, 18 May 2022 22:17:56 +0000

“Of all the things that are going on, most people don’t see that as the problem he probably is,” he said.

The president’s stance could backfire if the latest surge of the virus continues to grow, sidestepping vaccines and making more people seriously ill. If that happens, it could look like a repeat of last summer, when the president declared “independence” from the virus ahead of the July 4 holiday, only to see massive waves of illness and death once the Delta and Omicron variants hit.

Experts say administration officials — including the president — should also better prepare the public for a reinvigorated virus in the fall and winter, when people spend more time indoors. If people get complacent now, they say, by forgoing booster doses or not vaccinating their children, then they could pay the price.

“The attitude is, ‘We’ve got this, we’re done. ‘” said Dr. Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in San Diego. “People should prepare, they should get booster shots. But there is no awareness.”

While the pandemic appears to be of lesser concern, experts say, it also makes it harder for the White House to argue that it needs tens of billions in new funds from Congress to replenish its supply of tests, treatments and vaccines at time for the fall. The administration has said it wants to launch a booster campaign at this point, hopefully with revamped vaccines to work better against the latest version of the virus.

During the White House briefing, Dr. Ashish Jha, the new pandemic response coordinator at the White House, warned that if Congress does not grant the administration’s demand for $22 billion in new Covid funding, Americans would suffer in the fall.

He did not repeat an earlier assertion by the administration that the country could face 100 million infections next fall and winter. Instead, he said biostatisticians’ projections vary widely based on estimates of the proportion of the population that has developed immunity and other complex factors.

Former US Ambassador Sells $1.2 Million North Side Home in San Antonio Tue, 17 May 2022 22:07:30 +0000 Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza Jr. is selling his luxury property on the north side of San Antonio for $1.2 million.

Prior to playing a role in the administration of President George W. Bush, Garza was a lawyer and served as Texas Secretary of State and Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission.

you might also like: ‘Law of Attraction’ author Esther Hicks lists $3.1 million penthouse on Broadway Street

Built in 1995, the estate was designed by luxury home builder Roberto Kenigstein on a secluded 0.85 acre lot in the Elm Creek neighborhood. Garza has lived there since 2013, shortly after marrying Eloise Atkinson Garza, records show.

The four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom home has high ceilings, columns and tall windows that overlook the tree-dotted grounds and pool, according to the listing. There is a chef’s kitchen with professional grade appliances and a family room with a fireplace.

A spiral staircase leads to the second floor of the house. The master suite enjoys its own wing with a private library, exercise room and two full bathrooms.

Garza served as ambassador to Mexico from 2002 to 2009 and is considered a key supporter of Merida’s historic initiative to address critical regional security issues. In 2009, Mexico awarded him the Águila Azteca, the highest honor given to foreigners.

Garza is now an attorney in the Mexico City office of White & Case LLP, one of the world’s leading law firms. His wife is a dermatologist in San Antonio.

To view images of the home, visit the listing on

Five Minutes With… Timmy Nelson: Digital Design Specialist Streams Video Games To Raise Funds For Children’s Hospital – Today@Wayne Tue, 17 May 2022 14:30:14 +0000
Digital design specialist Timmy Nelson has raised over $17,000 for local children’s hospitals through Extra Life.

When Timmy Nelson isn’t working as a Digital Design Specialist for the Alumni Relations Office at Wayne State University, he enjoys playing video games, drawing, and entertaining. These interests are at the heart of his Twitch liveteam, trueTIMfoolery, which he uses to raise money for local children’s hospitals through the nonprofit organization Extra Life.

Since he started streaming in 2019, Nelson and his team of “crazy people” have raised more than $17,000 by playing video games and board games – and participating in a variety of incentives aimed at earn extra money.

“Extra Life lets me do the things I really love, but also teaches people that philanthropy can be a hobby,” Nelson said. “You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 CEO giving people all that money. Every dollar counts. Anyone can do it.

Nelson’s streams are very light-hearted and meant to entertain viewers. Viewers, for their part, feel good about making a donation because they know that the money raised goes to help children and their families. In fact, Nelson got a close look at where the money he raises is going when he visited the children’s hospital for the first time earlier this year.

“I was lucky enough to visit the hospital this year and meet one of the miracle children – her name was Mila,” said Nelson, who hasn’t been able to visit the hospital for the past few years. due to COVID-19 restrictions. “She was in the NICU for over 130 days when she was born, and there was a chance she wouldn’t make it. Now she’s a happy, healthy seven-year-old girl. She plays playing the piano, playing video games and running around. The first thing she did was come up to me, give me a hug and ask me if I play the piano. I didn’t tell her that I did. at first – I let her play for a bit, then I played a song and her eyes lit up. We became best friends at that point.

“She was laughing and dancing, and you can just tell she has the whole world in front of her now,” Nelson added. “I know that the money I helped raise went to fund some of his treatment and medical bills. I met his family, and they are simply the nicest people in the world. To see that my money and the money that my community raises has a direct impact on someone is amazing. And without Extra Life’s money, many things might not be possible.

Extra Life flyer for trueTIMfooleryNelson initially got involved with Extra Life by setting up a 24-hour stream for the Extra Life Game Day Marathon, which takes place on the first Saturday of every November. He set himself the goal of raising $1,000 in his first year, and through his creative marketing strategy, he raised that amount before he even got to game day.

“I committed to getting my first tattoo if we raised $1,000, and we surpassed that before we even got to November,” Nelson said.

His success came, in large part, from the incentives he offered before the event – ​​things like custom designs (he’s a talented artist) or entries into raffles for different prizes.

On game day, there were even more incentives to donate – dons would see Nelson eat mystery-flavored candy (flavors ranging from buttery popcorn to vomit) or have him do push-ups on the spot, even though he was in the middle of a video contest.

“When we put that together, it’s like a mini telethon,” Nelson said. “A lot of people don’t realize all the planning that goes into it. It might just be someone sitting there and playing games for 24 hours, but I know I’m drawing on the energy of my friends, family and supporters to build this day. We do things to entertain people watching, but it’s also a great way to raise money. Last year a friend of ours brought a bunch of temporary tattoos, so we said if you donate we’ll put one in, and I ended up with a bunch all over me. And they weren’t small – I had a giant unicorn on my face. We all have different ways to create incentives and encourage viewers to donate.

Around the same time Nelson decided to become an Extra Lifer, he also created his Twitch stream, which he typically uses twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday nights. These sessions allow her to raise funds for Extra Life throughout the year.

“I have a weekly Dungeons and Dragons session through which I constantly promote Extra Life,” Nelson said. “And then the other broadcast night of the week – or sometimes we play on the weekends as well – we play video games, and we could do something like ‘donate and we’ll do a Ghost hot sauce shot. Pepper” or something. All of these incentives are built around the idea that, yeah, I’m in pain or I’m doing the thing to make you laugh or bring you a smile, but it’s all for Extra Life and the child support.

Pile of trueTIMfoolery stickers.Nelson has built a community of followers on Twitch and also has his own Discord channel. He even started designing and selling trueTIMfoolery products. He designs his own logos, which are available on everything from T-shirts and hats to blankets, mugs and mouse pads.

“You can order a cozy blanket that literally has a giant picture of my face on it,” Nelson said. “Everything in my merchandise store has an extra $5 built into the cost that I donate to Extra Life. The idea is that every product you buy supports me and helps me get things done, but it also counts as a $5 donation to Extra Life. It’s another way to encourage people to wear my products and get exposure, build community, but also support children’s hospitals.

Nelson calls members of his community “fools,” and that includes his friends and family. Nelson’s wife, Paolina Barker, and brother, Philip Nelson, are part of his inner circle who appear on streams and help out behind the scenes.

“I couldn’t do it without them,” Nelson said. “And they’re always thinking of fun new ways to stress me out and make sure chaos ensues. The more people laugh, the more they give – and nothing is funnier than a little mayhem.

To follow Nelson’s progress as he aims to increase his overall money to over $20,000, visit his Extra Life page.

Bowler apartments upgrade includes deal for new homes behind The Roosevelt Tue, 17 May 2022 04:23:06 +0000

An aerial rendering shows the nine townhouses planned along M and 26th Streets next to the former Bowler School which is now seniors’ apartments. (Images courtesy of Daniil Kleyman)

An ongoing renovation for a former school-turned-apartments in the Church Hill neighborhood could make room for new homes behind The Roosevelt restaurant.

The owner of the Bowler Retirement Community, an income-based senior housing complex in the converted Bowler School at 26th and Leigh streets, plans to sell part of the property to developer Daniil Kleyman, whose Evolve Development would add the nine townhouses as infill project.

Seven of the houses would face M Street on the north side of the property, while the remaining two houses would face 26 and would be sold as low-income units. Units on M Street would be at market rate.

Kleyman, whose developments in the area include the nearby mixed-use building that fills the triangular-shaped lot at Jefferson Avenue and M Street, said he was approached for the Bowler project by Louis Salomonsky, who redeveloped the former school in the city in the mid-1990s and manages the property-owning entity, Bowler Housing LP.

Daniel Kleyman

“I’ve known Louis for a while and do a lot of development at Church Hill,” Kleyman said in an email explaining how the collaboration came about.

“These townhouses are a perfect complement to what we’re doing across the street,” Kleyman added, referring to the mixed-use building across 25th Street from The Roosevelt. “First, we add rentals and several businesses facing the street, then we add owner occupiers. This is how healthy neighborhoods grow – you need all three.

Townhouses are also an integral part of apartment renovations, said Brian White, who runs Main Street Realty, the rental and property management arm of Salomonsky and father David White’s historic housing development company. He said equity from the sale of the land to Kleyman would help fund the renovation, which is also expected to involve low-income housing tax credits.

“Selling some of this land to Daniil is how we’re going to make it work, basically,” Brian White said. “We’re going to use some low-income housing tax credits to do that, but we don’t want to be in a position where we have to charge maximum tax credit rents. That’s just not the population we serve there.

“The only way we can afford to redo the building is to get equity into the deal somehow,” White said, adding that borrowed capital would be used in addition to proceeds. sales and credits to help fund the project. and keep apartment rents low.

The former municipal school was transformed into a residence for the elderly in the mid-1990s.

Bowler’s 62 mostly one-bedroom apartments are fully occupied and currently rent between $725 and $840 per month. White said selling the land to Kleyman would help them keep rents within that range.

The renovation would include upgrades inside the units, with new flooring, counters, cabinets and appliances, as well as amenities for residents, including an outdoor kitchen and games such as bocce or bocce. shuffleboard.

Brian White

White said a cost estimate for the project has not been finalized and the agreed sale price for the land for the townhouses has not been disclosed. The land is one-third of the larger 1.2-acre property, which the city appraised at $2.09 million. The larger property last sold in 1995 for $300,000, according to property records.

Kleyman’s three-level townhouses lined M Street and would corner at 26, replacing a yard and part of Bowler’s existing parking lot. A new driveway off 26 would pass between the homes and the building, providing access to two-car garages for the market-priced units and the remaining parking lot, which would be reconfigured and reduced.

A site plan shows 17 off-street parking spaces next to the Bowler building, along with the gazebo and other amenities filling the site.

The new layout with the driveway would return the townhouse portion of the property to the townhouse-style development pattern that predated the school’s construction in 1914, according to a special use permit application filed for the project. The application notes that historical maps show that the northern portion of the property was occupied by at least nine residential structures.

The three-story townhouses would consist of seven market-rate units facing M Street. Two “labour housing” units would face 26th Street around the corner.

The seven market-priced homes would be over 3,100 square feet in size and feature four bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms, which Kleyman described as rare for new construction in the area. The two low-income homes would be 1,800 square feet with three bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms.

Kleyman said he hasn’t priced the homes and hasn’t finalized a construction budget. He worked with Todd Dykshorn of the Architecture Design Office on the design of the houses.

Pending permit approval, Kleyman said he hopes to innovate on townhouses in late summer or early fall. The townhouses have gone through the city’s Architectural Review Board and are also subject to the design requirements of the city’s Old Church Hill North Historic District.

Where Kleyman and Dykshorn had this part of the project run through CAR, the special use permit required for the entire project is requested by Bowler Housing LP. Local Roth Jackson attorney Mark Kronenthal is representing the landlord in his application, which is due before the Planning Commission on June 6.

White said the apartments needed renovations, which he said would modernize the units and keep Bowler an attractive housing option for seniors.

“We know we need to renovate this building and these units. We did it 25 years ago, and other than maintaining it, it’s still the same building as it was 25 years ago,” White said. “We want to make it something better and something that will be positioned to be a great place to live for a long time.”

Is your home at risk of fire? This online tool could tell you Mon, 16 May 2022 22:17:48 +0000

Wildfires cause billions in damage every year, yet many homebuyers don’t know if their home is in danger.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

For more than 50 years, anyone buying or renting a house could check how vulnerable it was to flooding. But for the risk of forest fire, the owners were mostly in the dark.

Even with thousands of homes destroyed each year by wildfires, most people who move receive little or no information on the risk they take.

Today, a non-profit research group publishes a one-of-a-kind tool for homeowners. Produced by the First Street Foundation, the assessment tool shows the wildfire risk for properties in the lower 48 states and shows how that risk will change as the climate warms. The information will be posted on, later expanding to other real estate sites.

The information fills a void left by the government. Only a handful of states have mapped the communities most at risk from wildfires. Federal cards of the US Forest Service are not intended for use for individual properties.

Knowledge of wildfire risk does not necessarily deter buyers, especially when housing is scarce. But wildfire experts say there is many steps homeowners can still take to make their homes safer, such as trimming flammable vegetation and using fire-resistant building materials.

“We won’t be able to stop all wildfires,” says Kelly Pohl, associate director of Headwaters Economics, a land use think tank. “We have a lot of work to do and understanding where a danger is, in the landscape and in individual homes, is the first step.”

In a bidding war, it’s easy to forget

In 1991, Tom Grossman had a difficult mission. The Oakland Hills firestorm hit the Bay Area, destroying more than 3,000 homes. Grossman’s search and rescue team was called in to systematically comb through the area, looking for human remains.

“It looked like a war zone,” Grossmans says. “It’s flattened. Everything is burned. Everything you’re used to is destroyed.”

In the rubble, his team found people who did not survive. Twenty-five people died in the blaze, many of whom were trying to escape through narrow, winding roads.

Tom Grossman didn't think about the risk of fire when he bought his <a class=home in Oakland, California. He has since pulled out flammable brush and replaced wood mulch with gravel to make his home more fire resistant.” height=”1998″ width=”2994″/>

Tom Grossman didn’t think about the risk of fire when he bought his home in Oakland, California. He has since pulled out flammable brush and replaced wood mulch with gravel to make his home more fire resistant.

Lauren Sommer/NPR

More than two decades later, Grossman was hunting for a new home in the hills of Oakland, navigating the Bay Area’s hyper-competitive housing market. After bidding on several and losing, he and his wife finally closed on a house. It sits on a tree-covered hill, just a few miles from where the Oakland Fire burned. But that didn’t cross Grossman’s mind.

“We absolutely haven’t made that connection,” he says. “We were just going: another scary bidding war!”

Like many other landlords and tenants across the country, Grossman received little information about the dangers of wildfires in the process of deciding where to move. California is one of the few states requiring disclosure of wildfire risk during a home sale, but the one-page form easily goes unnoticed in the piles of paperwork homebuyers have to sift through.

“It’s just pages and pages and pages of legalese and boring minutiae,” Grossman says. “And what’s important gets lost in the blur.”

Wildfire risk ratings, now alongside remodeled kitchen photos

The First Street Foundation set out to map wildfire risk after it was published similar house flood ratings, which currently appear on Redfin and the wildfire ratingsranked from one to 10, take into account climate change, which is fueling the extreme heat and dry conditions that have helped create record wildfires.

“The results are going to be surprising to some people, to say the least,” says Matthew Eby, executive director of the First Street Foundation. “What we’re seeing is that in some areas that risk is going to double, triple, quadruple. And in areas that already have really high levels of risk, like California, we’re seeing an increase of almost 50% .”

More than 30 million homes in the lower 48 states — about 20% of homes — are at measurable risk of being affected by a wildfire. Some 1.5 million properties have a greater than 26% chance of burning down over the next 30 years.

Eby says even a small wildfire risk accumulates over the life of a 30-year mortgage, but that cumulative probability is hard to grasp. Most disasters are framed by their annual risk, such as a century-old storm.

To perform the analysis, First Street ran complex computer models, simulating the spread of wildfires across different landscapes. Then, to determine each house’s vulnerability, they used satellite images and created computer algorithms to assess the amount of vegetation surrounding a house and the roof material, based on its color.

Although wildfire hazard maps can fill an information void, experts warn that the maps are imperfect. Homeowners living just outside risk areas on a map may feel a false sense of security. And wildfire maps are more accurate when communities can provide details about local conditions. Wildfire experts also warn that computer models that simulate the spread of wildfires also need an update, given the complex dynamics of weather and fires.

Government maps flood risk, but not wildfire risk

For 50 years, urban planners and property owners have had a clearer view of the dangers posed by flooding. In 1968, after a series of destructive hurricanes, Congress created a landmark program that has shaped cities ever since. The National Flood Insurance Program provided insurance to at-risk properties, and as part of this, FEMA released maps showing where flooding was likely to occur.

“For many communities across the country, this is the primary resource they have for understanding which areas are prone to flood risk,” says David Bascom, who leads FEMA’s Engineering Resources Branch. “In many cases, it’s the only tool they have to make decisions.”

As wildfires burn more and more in urban areas, like in Santa Rosa, Calif., in 2017, landlords and renters are losing homes they didn't know were in danger.

As wildfires burn more and more in urban areas, like in Santa Rosa, Calif., in 2017, landlords and renters are losing homes they didn’t know were in danger.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

But even as wildfires have wreaked increasing havoc across the country, few states or communities have mapped their wildfire risk. California created maps in 2007, but they are now considered obsolete, and state fire officials are working on a long-awaited update. Oregon is in the process of creating its first comprehensive statewide maps.

For states that have maps, hotspots are a fundamental tool to help communities prepare for wildfires. In California, they determine whether new homes need to be built to meet wildfire building codes, which require fire-resistant building materials that reduce the chances of a house catching on fire. Many cities and counties receive state and federal grants based on their wildfire danger rating.

In 2018, Congress asked the US Forest Service to create national wildfire maps. The result, Risk of forest fire for communitiesshows how cities and neighborhoods are vulnerable to wildfires, but is not detailed enough to be used for properties and single-family homes.

“Because this is a large national mapping project where we don’t have property level data on how sensitive each person’s home is – what is the siding material, what is the roofing material , etc. – we’re looking at that very roughly,” says Greg Dillon, director of the US Forest Service’s Fire Modeling Institute.

How knowing the risk of wildfire could help homeowners

While seeing that a house has a substantial risk of burning may deter some buyers or renters, others may have to ignore it in favor of finding a home. Millions of homes are already being built in areas prone to wildfires, not just in the western United Statesand a national housing shortage often leaves people with few options.

“We already live in these places that have a lot of risk, so we need to think about how to better adapt to fire and make our homes and communities safer,” Pohl said.

A helicopter drops water near evacuated homes in Laguna Beach, California.  New homes in high-risk areas of the state must use fire-resistant materials in construction.

A helicopter drops water near evacuated homes in Laguna Beach, California. New homes in high-risk areas of the state must use fire-resistant materials in construction.

Apu Gomes/Getty Images

Just knowing that wildfires are a risk can always help homeowners. Many houses are ignited by embers that can be blown far ahead of the actual fire. Studies show that even affordable home projects can improve a home’s chances of survival.

In the hills of Oakland, Grossman did just that. He worked with his neighbors to clean up overgrown vegetation on a nearby vacant lot. At home, he cut down a tall cypress hedge and replaced the wood mulch with gravel within five feet of his house. Now he is focused on making sure the escape routes are also clear, so they are not engulfed in flames before people can get out.

“We have to find a way to collectively shift from a mindset of ‘me, me, me’ to a mindset of ‘we’re in this together,'” Grossman says. “Let’s be partners and help each other.”

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit

A higher quality home battery is taking off in Texas, but is it a green power winner? Mon, 16 May 2022 06:15:25 +0000

For years, home energy storage has been riddled with dangerous mechanisms and unnecessary materials. With both lead-acid components and lithium-ion technology, unplugging the grid had uncertain side effects. Overheating, overuse and inherent toxicity were the main concerns. However, innovation has led to an evolution of this technology, and it is taking off right here in Dallas.

The ground has just been thrown on a revolutionary home battery technology that now exists in East Dallas. Following this pilot program, a pioneering partnership plans to bring smarter and safer electricity to more than 200,000 homes.

Meet Salient

Salient Energy, an innovator in stationary energy storage, has made history through a new partnership with Horton World Solutions. Salient develops proprietary zinc-ion batteries using a water-based design that eliminates the risk of fire. By partnering with HWS, a sustainable home builder whose proprietary composite framing allows for incredible energy efficiency, Salient hopes to make a huge impact on eco-friendly housing.

This is a big problem for Dallas homeowners, as our climate has caused immense energy issues for the past two years. With Salient, residents benefit from safer energy solutions while contributing to a healthier environment.

“Energy storage is a key part of building zero-carbon homes,” says HWS Founder and CEO Terry Horton. “But current lithium-ion systems have many problems. They create a fire hazard that we have to circumvent, adding even more time and complexity to our permitting process. They are also often in short supply, making it risky to expect them to be an integral part of our designs. When I saw that Salient Zinc Ion could solve both of these problems, I knew I had to get involved.

The next era of energy efficiency

Recently, Ryan Brown, CEO of Salient, explained the potential of this new technology to

“We are extremely excited about working with HWS,” says Ryan. “And being able to demonstrate on one of their sustainably developed Dallas homes made it a perfect partnership.”

He is excited about the green benefits this type of technology will bring to a new generation of homeowners.

“From a homeowner’s perspective, we want it to be no different than an electric wall,” says Ryan. “Our technology creates resilience against outages and allows residents to consume their own clean energy.”

Salient’s zinc-ion battery works both with solar panels and as part of the power grid. By safely storing energy for later use, this battery helps owners eliminate the possibility of blackouts.

What sets Salient apart

“With zinc-ion technology, our battery is water-based, which eliminates the risk of fire for greater peace of mind and easier permit applications,” says Ryan. “This gives us a huge advantage over other home battery manufacturers.”

Companies like Telsa, Energizer and Everready offer similar solutions but with major ecological concerns. Since these brands use rare lithium-ion technology to power their products, many worry about the implications of overmining the metals needed.

The science behind Salient makes its materials less harmful to harvest and easier to acquire.

“Our batteries are built with very abundant materials,” says Ryan. “It’s completely different from other lithium-ion systems where basically the whole supply chain is in China. Also, the global lithium market is in massive shortage. So offering an alternative is something our customers appreciate. .

This new home battery will surely have a huge impact on our region, especially with the uncertainties of ERCOT and our ever-changing climate. It’s an innovation we can all embrace.

An expert opinion

Alan Hoffmann is president of Hoffmann Homes, Four Tree Development, and is a technical advisor to the City of Dallas’ Environmental Division. He sat down with to discuss the pros and cons of these energy solutions.

“I think most people around Dallas are motivated to get these batteries because of the icepocalypse,” Hoffmann said. “However, the thing to remember is that when you have a weather event like this, you don’t get enough solar power to recharge the battery if the grid goes down.

“A good way to use them could be to get a free energy plan on nights and weekends and recharge the batteries during those times,” he said. “However, power companies will probably figure this out.”

But is it the best deal?

“The best deal right now, I think,” Hoffman says, “would be to get an all-electric Ford F-150. They have about the same power capacity as those domestic batteries, and they’re also about at the same price. Only, they are mobile. So if you are caught without electricity, you can always go and recharge them and bring the electricity back to your home. Rather than waiting for solar or grid power.

BrightHouse Loan Customers Likely Not to Receive Refunds, Admins Say | Personal Loans Mon, 16 May 2022 06:00:00 +0000

Administrators at collapsed rent-to-own BrightHouse, which specializes in lending for large items such as fridges and sofas, have warned they will not have enough money to compensate thousands of customers left with prohibitive debt became.

The latest report from accountant Grant Thornton, who runs the administration, reveals a plan to set aside £600,000 for payouts to customers who may have been mis-sold on expensive BrightHouse loans.

In the meantime, a number of creditors have received large sums. That includes supply chain finance firm Greensill, which is itself under administration after collapsing last year. Greensill – or its creditors – have received nearly £31million.

The trial will raise new questions about how UK insolvency rules prioritize payouts for investors and lenders over customers.

Before it went bust in 2020, BrightHouse offered high-yield leases to customers who would otherwise struggle to afford the upfront costs of household goods like refrigerators, stoves, TVs and sofas. It charged interest of up to 69.9%, which on top of service and insurance fees could mean that high street customers had to pay two to three times the item price. Some customers could never own the goods if they defaulted on payments.

BrightHouse customers typically came from low-income households that received government benefits. The decision means some of Britain’s most vulnerable consumers could be missing out on vital funds as the cost of living crisis squeezes finances.

Grant Thornton originally set aside up to £600,000 to process more than 11,000 affordability claims from customers who feared they may have been mis-sold loans. But its most recent report, published at the end of April, reveals administrators plan to seek court approval to scrap the indemnity pot after deciding the cost would be prohibitive.

“Given the likely significant size and complexity of customer affordability claims…administrators anticipate that the costs associated with evaluating these claims would far exceed the funds available for distribution,” the report said.

“As a result, the administrators are trying to apply to the court for non-application of the prescribed part in the coming period,” she added.

Under the original plans, customers would have been due refunds for fees and interest plus an additional 8% interest on that amount since the inception of their loan.

Meanwhile, administrators confirmed they had hired a collection agency to “improve” customer repayments and “maximize” payouts to creditors. Among those creditors is Greensill Capital, whose collapse last year sparked a wave of political scandals.

Greensill, which specializes in offering fee-based advances on corporate invoices, made loans to BrightHouse in 2018. As a lender, Greensill was counted as a secured creditor, putting it at the front of the queue for repayment when its client, BrightHouse, went bust. The administrators’ report confirmed Greensill was repaid in full, receiving a total of £30.86million in 2020 – a year before it broke into administration.

Sara Williams, a debt counselor and Author of the Debt Camel blog, said: “The hundreds of thousands of customers who should have received a refund for bad loans will not receive anything. The money that customers were forced to pay during administration goes in full to the secured creditors.”

She added: “The Government and the Bankruptcy Service need to change this. Customers are the innocent victims here and should be given priority. Administrators should not attempt to collect debt without first considering whether the loan was mis-sold.”

The problem is particularly acute for rental company customers, who are typically young women or single parents living in rental apartments.

Customers have had similar problems dealing with collapsed payday lenders as Wonga. Hundreds of thousands of its former borrowers, to whom the company missold loans, were told they would receive just 4.3p in compensation for every £1 owed.

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A spokesman for administrators at Grant Thornton, which is also handling Greensill’s UK winding-up, said they would honor their obligations under UK insolvency rules and have distributed BrightHouse assets “as required by law”.

The spokesman said: “While Greensill Capital (UK) Ltd was previously a secured creditor of BrightHouse, all liabilities owed to it in connection with the administration of BrightHouse have been paid in accordance with the law and prior to entering administration. We have no further comments beyond the content of the Administrators’ filings in relation to either matter.”

A spokesman for the bankruptcy service said: “The bankruptcy framework aims to ensure that creditors of an insolvent company recover as much money as possible and it is the duty of bankruptcy trustees to take the interests of all creditors into account when carrying out their duties”.

Snapchat co-founder pays off college debt for LA graduates Sun, 15 May 2022 22:03:01 +0000

Yaritza Velazquez-Medina took a major turn in her career when she decided to quit her job as a crisis counselor in 2018 to pursue her artistic passions. She enrolled at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles to become a graphic designer — even though she racked up around $70,000 in college debt to do so.

But after crossing the stage on Sunday to receive her diploma during the opening ceremonies, she and 284 other graduates from the Class of 2022 received startling news: their college debt would be fully repaid thanks to the largest donation in the century-old history of school through Snapchat. co-founder Evan Spiegel and his wife, Miranda Kerr.

Charles Hirschhorn, chairman of Otis, made the announcement during the opening ceremony at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel, prompting gasps and cheers from the audience.

Snap co-founder Evan Spiegel – whose creation of the popular instant messaging app with two former Stanford University classmates made him the world’s youngest billionaire at 24 in 2015 – has attended summer school at Otis in high school. He and his wife, Miranda Kerr, released a statement regarding the donation.

“The Otis College of Art and Design is an extraordinary institution that encourages young creatives to find their artistic voice and thrive in a variety of industries and careers,” said Spiegel and Kerr, founders of the Spiegel Family Fund. “It is a privilege for our family to give back and support the Class of 2022, and we hope this gift will empower the graduates to pursue their passions, contribute to the world, and inspire humanity for years to come. “

The donation comes as student loan debt has soared in recent decades, due to rising costs of college education and dwindling public funding to cover them. More than 43 million Americans owe the federal government $1.6 trillion — an average of $37,000 per person — which is the largest share of consumer debt in the United States after mortgages.

In California alone, 3.8 million residents owe $141.8 billion, the largest share of any state. Those who struggle the most with crippling debt are disproportionately low-income and underrepresented minority students and the first members of their families to attend college.

The financial burden hurts mental health, delays marriages, prevents homeownership and discourages new businesses, researchers have found. Widespread effects intensify pressure on Biden administration to craft student debt relief plan; one proposal under consideration is the federal cancellation of at least $10,000 of debt for people earning less than $125,000 a year.

The crisis has also prompted some donors to pay off student loan debt. In 2019, billionaire Robert Smith made national headlines when he announced he would cover the loan debt of the entire Morehouse College class by donating $34 million to the historically men’s school. black from Atlanta.

Hirschhorn did not reveal the size of the Spiegel family’s donation, but said it exceeded the college’s previous largest donation of $10 million. Spiegel and Kerr offered their historic gift after Hirschhorn told them the college wanted to award the couple honorary degrees and invited them this year as rookie speakers. The couple was not available for an interview.

“My reaction was euphoria,” Hirschhorn said. “Student debt weighs heavily on our diverse and talented graduates. We hope this donation will bring them much-needed relief and allow them to pursue their aspirations and careers, further this generosity, and become the next leaders of our community.

The private, nonprofit college, established in 1918 as the first professional art school in Los Angeles, educates about 1,200 students – 77% identifying as non-white and 30% as the first in their families to attend the ‘university. Diversity enriches the school’s creative output, with student creations featuring Black, Japanese, Persian, Mexican American and other cultural inspirations.

Annual tuition is $49,110 for 2022-23, and 92% of students receive financial aid. The college does not disclose average graduate loan debt.

Hirschhorn said 90% of graduates find employment in their field of study within six months of graduation and earn an average entry salary of around $50,000. The college offers programs in communication arts, digital media, environmental design, fashion design, fine arts, product design, and toy design. According to its annual report on California’s creative economy, the sectors directly employed nearly 1.4 million people and produced $687 billion in gross regional product in 2020, nearly a quarter of California’s output. State.

Farhan Fallahifiroozi emigrated with his family from Iran in 2015 to find better opportunities which he said were not available to them as members of the Baha’i minority. They landed in Texas, where he discovered a passion for fashion design in high school and took out over $60,000 in student loans to fund his four-year program at Otis.

The investment, he says, was well worth it. He found rigorous academic programs, caring mentors and industry connections – an internship at Abercrombie and Fitch, for example, and work on school projects with mentor Trish Summerville, the costume designer known for her Hollywood work on “Mank”, “The Hunger Games: Catching”. Fire” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. He accepted a job offer in his main area of ​​interest, bridal design.

For Velazquez-Medina, the Spiegel family’s donation is a lifeline. Her $70,000 student loan debt isn’t something her working-class parents, who emigrated from Mexico, could help pay off, but she saw it as a worthwhile investment for herself and her passion for giving a creative voice to marginalized communities through design. Her school projects include a visual book on Spanglish and creative women. She lined up a paid internship with the libertine fashion brand in Hollywood.

Hope Mackey, who grew up in Las Vegas, always loved art – “I was that person who doodled in notebooks during math class,” they said. Mackey fell in love with Otis after visiting the school’s toy design floor during a college tour of California, but was nervous about the financial prospects of a career in the field, especially with the debt five-figure student loan amount needed to complete the program.

Now free of that debt, Mackey is excited to start a job at Mattel Inc. The graduate, who identifies as queer/trans, will work in the Barbie family division and dreams of developing non-binary dolls.

“I want every child to feel represented,” Mackey said.

Scott Morrison to let first-time home buyers use 40% of their super to buy a home Sun, 15 May 2022 05:04:41 +0000

First-time home buyers will be able to dip into their retirement pension and use up to 40% of their savings to buy a new home.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison used the Liberal Party’s election campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday to unveil his ‘super homebuyer scheme’.

“I’m going for a second term because I’m just warming up,” he said.

Homebuyers will be able to use up to $50,000, or a “responsible portion,” of their retirement pension to invest in their first home.

“We want to help more Australians overcome what is the biggest hurdle on their way to home ownership. [and] it is the difficulty of saving for a deposit. And being able to use your own money to do it,” Mr Morrison said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison used the Liberal Party’s election campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday to unveil the new plan under the Super Home Buyer Scheme

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg poses with former Prime Minister John Howard at the campaign launch

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg poses with former Prime Minister John Howard at the campaign launch

The money can be withdrawn from the superannuation account and used to buy an existing or new home (stock image)

The money can be withdrawn from the superannuation account and used to buy an existing or new home (stock image)

“The maximum amount that can be invested under this plan is the lesser of $50,000 or 40% of your total superannuation balance.

“The superannuation is there to help Australians in their retirement. Evidence shows that the best thing we can do to help Australians achieve financial security in retirement is to help them own their own homes.

The money can be withdrawn from the superannuation account and used to purchase an existing or new home.

If the house is sold, the money taken to invest in the house will be returned to the superannuation account, including a share of any capital gains.

Mr Morrison said the scheme would cut the average time it takes to save for a home by three years.

He said the plan would make it easier for buyers to own their first home and reduce the number of renters.

“Our plan makes it easier for first-time home buyers to save for a deposit, which reduces the time people need to pay rent, and also means a smaller mortgage with less debt and longer repayments. little ones,” he said.

“It’s a plan that strikes the right balance – it uses the money that’s currently locked up to transform a family’s life, with the money then responsibly returned to the super fund when the house is sold. .”

Under the coalition’s expanded housing policy, up to 1.3 million empty nesters and retirees will also be able to access incentives to downsize their homes, as part of a plan to help more families to obtain housing.

“We want to help more Australians overcome what is the biggest hurdle on their way to home ownership. [and] it is the difficulty of saving for a deposit.  And being able to use his own money to do it,' Mr Morrison said

“We want to help more Australians overcome what is the biggest hurdle on their way to home ownership. [and] it is the difficulty of saving for a deposit. And being able to use his own money to do it,’ Mr Morrison said

Prime Minister Scott Morrison kisses his mother Marion after his speech

Prime Minister Scott Morrison kisses his mother Marion after his speech

Mr Morrison also used the launch of the election campaign to claim his government had 'saved the country' during the Covid pandemic (pictured, Tony Abbott with Jeanette and John Howard)

Mr Morrison also used the launch of the election campaign to claim his government had ‘saved the country’ during the Covid pandemic (pictured, Tony Abbott with Jeanette and John Howard)

Scott Morrison’s last chance policy: use your super to buy a house

First-time home buyers will be able to dip into their retirement pension and use up to 40% of their savings to buy a new home.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday that a “responsible share” of up to $50,000 could be withdrawn from the account.

The money can be withdrawn to be used on existing or new homes.

If the house is sold, the money taken to invest in the house will be returned to the superannuation account, including a share of any capital gains.

Mr Morrison said the scheme would cut the average time it takes to save for a home by three years.

Australians over 55 will be able to downsize their property and invest up to $300,000, per person, into their superannuation fund outside of existing contribution limits, from the proceeds of a sale.

Retirees who downsize their homes will also have greater flexibility as proceeds from the sale of the property will be exempt from the asset test for a longer period.

They will have two years to structure their assets after the sale of their house without harming their retirement.

Labor Senator Murray Watt said his party would always support a good idea.

“We are going to support this one. We think it’s a good idea worth taking,’ he told Sky News.

“But the reality is that one announcement from this government after almost a decade in power is not going to solve the housing crisis we are seeing in Australia.”

Mr Morrison also used the launch of the election campaign to claim that his government had “saved the country” during the Covid pandemic.

“We have given our fellow Australians this assurance in these very difficult times that tomorrow will be fine,” he said at the Brisbane Convention Center on Sunday.

‘So they could say the same to their children, to their employees, and I’m quite sure to themselves.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Sunday election campaign launch

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Sunday election campaign launch

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce with his wife Vicki Campion at the launch in Brisbane

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce with his wife Vicki Campion at the launch in Brisbane

“As a leader, it was a time for strength, it was a time to push forward. I had one goal, as prime minister, to save the country. And we did that.

Mr Morrison defended his record as a leader and admitted his coalition government had faced a difficult few years.

“It was one of the toughest times we’ve ever had,” he said.

“But I’m here to tell you today that despite what we’ve had to face, we’ve stayed true to Australia’s promise. And Australia won.

“We want to help more Australians overcome what is the biggest hurdle on their way to home ownership. [and] it is the difficulty of saving for a deposit. And being able to use your own money to do it.

Mr Morrison defended his record as leader and admitted his coalition government had faced a difficult few years

Mr Morrison defended his record as leader and admitted his coalition government had faced a difficult few years

$489 million to illegal internet payday loan victims approved by Virginia court Sat, 14 May 2022 13:20:37 +0000

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The federal court in Richmond has preliminarily approved a class action settlement that would grant relief of $489 million to victims of illicit internet lending.

The verdict came Thursday, May 12, and affects some 555,000 consumers who have been charged over 600% interest on loans by predatory internet payday lenders.

Legal cases against predatory lenders began over three years ago when a coalition of law firms, including the Virginia Poverty Law Center, Kelly Guzzo and Consumer Litigation Associates, joined forces to address the ongoing illicit payday loan challenge.

“These law firms took the illegal lenders to court,” said Jay Speer, executive director of the Virginia Poverty Law Center. “We are so grateful for their tenacity and passion to take part in this three-year fight for today’s settlement.”

Today’s settlement is one of many these law firms have reached with illicit internet lenders in recent years, including a $433 million settlement in 2019.

The proposed settlement provides $450 million in debt relief for consumers, to be paid in cash for most consumers.

The settlement will also provide $39 million to establish a common fund for those who have repaid unlawful amounts.

Peer group members do not need to submit a claim form and will receive notification via email or US mail.

In addition to litigation, VPLC assists borrowers through the organization’s robbery loan hotline 866-830-4501 and advocating better laws to protect borrowers.