Jonesboro, – June 11, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — Last week, in College Park, 1,478 homeowners attended the “Help for Homeowners Event” at the Georgia International Convention Center. It was the fourth time the Obama Administration has sponsored an event for struggling homeowners in the Atlanta area. In total, 8,065 homeowners have been helped at events in Metropolitan Atlanta, and more than 275,000 families in the area have received assistance through government and mortgage servicer programs.
I attended this event to hear directly from homeowners about their experiences and to talk with community leaders about ways to help federal programs reach more families struggling with their mortgages. Almost 570 real estate agents and housing counselors participated in free seminars about the Administration’s programs to help homeowners prevent foreclosure. Dozens of mortgage representatives from about 20 banks and 50 representatives from local HUD-approved housing counseling agencies also met with homeowners. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs helped more than 200 homeowners learn about HomeSafe Georgia, Georgia’s program through Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, which provides up to 18 months of mortgage payment assistance while a homeowner is looking for work.
I saw first-hand how these in-person meetings between homeowners, mortgage servicers, and housing counselors can help resolve some of the major hurdles families face when trying to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. From gaining a stronger understanding of the range of options available, to receiving help completing the documentation necessary to apply for a modification, homeowners left the event with a clearer path to assistance and, in many cases, a resolution to their mortgage problems.
Yet, we know there are more homeowners in the Atlanta area at risk of foreclosure that could benefit from these and other programs. That’s why I co-hosted an in-depth discussion between local government officials, business leaders, real estate agents, housing counselors, non-profit representatives, and mortgage servicers to share best practices, identify areas where stronger coordination was needed, and offer new ideas for helping struggling borrowers learn about their options and reach solutions. We were joined by Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad, Acting Federal Housing Administration Commissioner and HUD Assistant Secretary Carol Galante, and Mike Beatty, the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, who shared how the Home Safe Georgia program is implementing new approaches to increase participation rates.
If you are a homeowner struggling with your mortgage payments, know that help is available right now – and the sooner you seek it, the more options you may have. Information about events in your area and other resources are available at: MakingHomeAffordable.gov, or you can call 888-995-HOPE, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to receive free, expert advice from a HUD-approved housing counselor.
Did you attend one of these events? Were they helpful? What are your experiences in trying to obtain help for your mortgage problems? Comment below…
* A version of this blog ran on the Treasury Department’s website at: http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Helping-Atlanta-Homeowners-Avoid-Foreclosure-.aspx