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They’re thankful … to have saved their homes from foreclosure

FALCON COVE — This Thanksgiving, Jill McVarish and Arthur and Gina Livermore have something truly profound to be thankful for: their homes.


Different circumstances under the same recession led them to fall behind on their mortgages. They looked for any help they could get, and Community Action Team Inc. (CAT), a Northwest Oregon nonprofit focused on marshaling resources to help the disadvantaged, delivered.

“Why would pay an attorney or someone who might be scamming you when you have people who are local who might be able to help you?” said homeowner and housing specialist Cindy Peake, who meets with homeowners and buyers to help make sure their dream doesn’t fall through.

Home Rescue

With the help of CAT, the Livermores accessed Oregon’s Home Rescue Program, which provides monthly mortgage assistance with a maximum benefit of $20,000. The program, said Gina Livermore, takes $1,200 a month off their shoulders.

“I’ve seen people drop their property, walk away from it, do a reverse mortgage,” said Gina Livermore. “I’m a real stubborn person. I like keeping my commitments and seeing things through. Art and I want to die on this property.”

The couple have lived on their small, 3-acre farm in Falcon Cove for 25 years. They run a sort of rescue shelter, with a Shetland pony, mule, chickens and an alpine goat that students at the adjacent Fire Mountain School come to interact with.

Their modest manufactured home cost $57,000. But the mortgage holder required they develop another permanent structure before receiving financing, ballooning the cost of their home to more than $200,000. Meanwhile Arthur Livermore, a freelance website designer who worked for the now closed ExploraStore in Cannon Beach, has struggled to find steady work.

“We live about as tight to the belt as you can without dying,” said Gina Livermore. “We don’t travel, we don’t have a new car, we don’t spend money on entertainment. The only thing we do that costs money is keeping the animals alive.”

The two draw Social Security, were living off of family inheritance and renting out a nearby family beach home, but they were still approaching the brink and contemplated selling before land values plummeted.

Arthur Livermore said he discovered the Home Rescue Program on the Internet, looking for any help he could find. Peake said the program only requires that participants show a 10-percent loss in income.

“It pays for 12 months or up to 20 percent of mortgage payments,” Gina Livermore said. “If you’re struggling and don’t want to lose your house, it’s a great program.”

Counseling

McVarish, a professional artist who moved to the coast seven years ago and bought a historic Astoria house on Commercial Street near Uniontown, spend nine months unsuccessfully battling Chase bank to have her mortgage refinanced.

The banks didn’t react much to her entreaties, said McVarish, and she was searching for help anywhere she could find it when a Google search result turned up CAT’s website. Peake was eventually able to negotiate a mortgage modification that has saved McVarish her $500 a month.

“It was incredible – some of the best news I ever got,” said McVarish, adding that Peake told her the banks were choosing not to help, rather than being unable to help. “Having been turned down already, I didn’t have hopes it would work.

“I think they were a lot more willing to work with her than they were with me. I just think they’re more willing to cooperate with an organization than an individual.”

Several hundred people have gone through the counseling since it started in 2006. “With that, there is now requirement of showing a loss,” said Peake. “You don’t even need to be behind on your mortgage.”

The success rate for homeowners trying to modify a mortgage, she added, is usually 10 percent, but increases to 20 percent when CAT is involved.

McVarish, who made paintings for an art distribution company in Florida, said she got a decent loan for her home and that all was good until the stores’ budget for artwork – and her livelihood – dried up about a year ago with the overall real estate market.

She still works as an artist and rents out two of her house’s four bedrooms, bringing in $900 extra a month but not enough to cover the mortgage.

Helping homeowners

The Home Rescue Program and counseling are two of several programs Peake said her nonprofit uses to help keep people in their homes after a drastic hit to their finances.

Beginning Aug. 4, the resolution program, a byproduct of Oregon Senate Bill 558, started requiring lenders to meet with homeowners to negotiate foreclosure avoidance measures before taking action on their homes. Peake said it gives a homeowner in danger of foreclosure a chance to meet with someone at a bank with the actual authority to make a final decision on their financing.

“I’ve got about 25 people in the program,” said Peake, adding that the new resolution program edged around previous loopholes that servicers used to get out of meeting with delinquent homeowners.

The Federal Housing Administration’s Back to Work program, in response to the special hardships of the recession, shortens the waiting period for someone who’s gone through foreclosure under extenuating circumstances – a 20 percent loss in income for at least six months prior to the event, a loss of employment or both – to get a new, specialized FHA mortgage to get back into a home.

“If a person was foreclosed on or filed bankruptcy and lost their home, they’d have to wait three years before they could possibly get into a home again,” said Peake.

CAT also provides budget counseling, home-buying, tenant-landlord relations and other free workshops. For more information on CAT’s programs and classes, visit http://www.cat-team.org/nworhc/ or call 503-397-3511.

Article source: http://www.dailyastorian.com/free/they-re-thankful-to-have-saved-their-homes-from-foreclosure/article_1e437ce6-57c2-11e3-b9c4-0019bb2963f4.html

Refinance is possible, but tricky, after foreclosure


Real Estate Matters

4:30 a.m. CST, November 28, 2013

Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/sns-201311231130--tms--realestmctnig-a20131128-20131128,0,7228639.column

High foreclosure states like California fail to get federal aid to homeowners



Some of the states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis aren’t spending millions of dollars that the federal government has set aside to help struggling homeowners, a new report shows.

Of $7.6 billion the federal government has provided in the “Hardest Hit Fund” to help homeowners, states have disbursed only $3 billion, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan service that provides information to Congress.

The Hardest Hit Fund is one of several initiatives the federal government created in the aftermath of the recession to help families keep their homes. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have 66 programs that use money from the Hardest Hit Fund, which is allocated to each state depending on various factors, including the impact of the housing crisis in the state and the percentage of residents who are unemployed or underemployed.

CRS found that states have disbursed widely varying percentages of their Hardest Hit money, from 21 percent in Alabama to 84 percent in Rhode Island. Some of the states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis have distributed the lowest percentages, including Florida (26 percent), Michigan (29 percent), Arizona (34 percent) and California (36 percent).  As of October, Florida still had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate. Nevada, which has distributed a little more than half of its Hardest Hit money, had the second highest rate.

In addition to Rhode Island, Oregon and the District of Columbia also disbursed a relatively high percentage of their Hardest Hit money, nearly 70 percent.

The first dollars from the Hardest Hit Fund flowed to California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Michigan in February 2010. Those states had the largest declines in home prices and high foreclosure rates. Later in 2010, the federal government expanded the program to 13 states and D.C., all of which had unemployment rates higher than the national average. States are required to submit plans to the Treasury, which administers the program, explaining how they would use the money.

Critics say the Treasury is at least partly to blame for states’ low payout rates.  In a separate report in late October, the Office of the Special Inspector General criticized the Treasury for failing to specify how many homeowners states should help.

Last month, the Treasury approved changes to some of these states’ Hardest Hit programs:

Arizona created a waiver allowing homeowners to receive assistance that exceeds the $2,000 per month cap, but the maximum assistance still can’t exceed $48,000.

New Jersey reduced the maximum assistance available to homeowners to $24,000.

South Carolina received approval to launch a new program that provides up to $36,000 in principal reduction to homeowners when they modify a loan.

These changes were included in the latest monthly report that the Treasury provides to Congress on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Information about the Hardest Hit initiatives in the 18 states and D.C., including state web sites, fact sheets and quarterly reports, can be found here.

Article source: http://www.dailynews.com/business/20131127/high-foreclosure-states-like-california-fail-to-get-federal-aid-to-homeowners

Military Wishes 2013: How to serve our community by serving veterans – The Grand Rapids Press

In a combined effort by MLive Media Group, the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, Walker Army Strong Community Center and Michigan National Guard Family Programs, we are attempting to match the generosity of our community with a few of the many needs of our local military service members and their families.

This is just a few of the many wishes that our local veterans and their families have this holiday season. For more information on other needs and services that you can provide our servicemen and women and their families, please contact the agencies below.

GRAND RAPIDS HOME FOR VETERANS

Established in 1886 for Civil War veterans, the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans (GRHV) has been serving Michigan veterans ever since. GRHV plays a significant role within the community by providing health care and hospitality for those who served our country.

The mission of the GRHV is to provide compassionate, quality interdisciplinary care for the members to achieve their highest potential of independence, self-worth, wellness and dignity.

To respond to any of these wishes or inquire about additional wishes for residents of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, please contact Tiffany Carr, director of member and community relations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by phone 616-365-3834; email carrt1@michigan.gov; fax 616-365-3804; or mail Tiffany Carr c/o Grand Rapids Home, 3000 Monroe Ave. NE Grand Rapids, MI 49341.

Wish 1
I’ve lived at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans for six years now due to me being in pain 24/7. Because of that, I tend to stay in my room most days. It’s not easy for me to ask for things but a laptop computer would greatly enhance my quality of life. I have a daughter and a 2 ½-year-old grandson that lives in Nevada so I don’t get to see them much. I could keep in better contact with them with photos, Facebook and email. Also I could watch movies, listen to music, play games and surf the web.
- Ron, Air Force veteran

Wish 2
I would like to wish for some warm, winter boots. I do jobs around the Veterans Home like fill the bird feeders and have to go out into the deep snow. I wear a size 8 wide. If possible, if the boots could have a zipper instead of laces that would be great.
- Dale, Army veteran

Wish 3
My special wish would be for a laptop computer. I used to live in Florida and when I came back to Michigan I lost touch with my son and most of my friends. Having my own computer would help me to be able to reconnect with my family and friends.
- Ed, Navy veteran/Vietnam

Wish 4
My wish would be for a 13-inch flat screen television with DVD player and headset. Sharing a room with others is hard and I enjoy watching TV so this would help me to watch my programs and not bother my roommate.
- Neil, Army veteran/Vietnam

Wish 5
My wish would be for my own laptop computer that I could enjoy in my room. I would like to increase my knowledge so a computer would help me achieve that.
- Kevin, Army veteran

Wish 6
I’ve resided at the G.R. Veterans Home after finding myself homeless with the economy’s downturn in 2009. Being able to live at the Home where my basic needs could be met, I was able to focus on going back to school. I already have my associate’s degree in criminal justice and felt I could achieve my B.A. in criminal justice so I continue to attend classes at Ferris State University. With the cost of school necessities and a very limited income, any assistance with some daily costs like bus passes, gas cards, parking fees, etc. would help me a great deal. I’m very grateful to the Home for allowing me get my life back together and help me complete the journey of gaining an education.
- Rodney, Marine veteran

Wish 7
I’ve lived at the Home for four years because my depression was consuming me. It helps for me to get out of my room so I’ve enjoyed watching the wildlife around the Home like birds, deer, etc. If I had a wish to make my life better this Christmas season it would be to have a camera to take pictures of the wildlife I see. Something with a zoom and a tripod would be great so I could spend time waiting and watching for the perfect shot. Thank you for thinking of me.
- Daniel, Navy veteran/Vietnam

A metal walkway used to access the home of Bob and Cheryl Adkison in Rockford on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Bob Adkison, 69, is a Vietnam War veteran who suffers from various health problems brought on by injuries received and exposure to Agent Orange during the war. Bob must use a motorized wheelchair when traveling to and from his home for dialysis treatments 3 times a week. The couple hope to have the walkway covered as it becomes hazardous in wet conditions.  

WALKER ARMY STRONG COMMUNITY CENTER

The Walker Army Strong Community Center (ASCC) supports geographically dispersed service members and their families by identifying resources needed and matching them with existing community services by serving families closest to where they live. ASCC is a community-based office dedicated to assisting service members, retirees, veterans and their families from all branches of military service.

If you are interested in sponsoring a service member and/or their family or donating money, please contact the Walker ASCC office by phone between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 616-735-4050 ext. 146.

Wish 1
I’m a 100 percent disabled veteran from the Vietnam era. Since my time in service to our country, I’ve had multiple medical conditions that have limited my mobility. While I’m able to get around on a scooter, the ramp that I use to go outdoors is open to the elements and can become slippery in the winter. My wish is for assistance in covering the ramp to the elements or having a garage built so that it is easier to get in and out of vehicles.
- Bob, Army veteran/Vietnam

Wish 2
I’m a 100 percent disabled veteran of the war in Iraq. Since returning home, I’ve encountered many obstacles but have started moving forward. I recently bought a house and due to repairs, I’ve been unable to purchase appliances. My wish is for a dishwasher and a vent fan for my bathroom.
- Jacob, Army veteran /Iraq

Wish 3
I’m a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During my deployment the vehicle I was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb. On that day I not only lost friends but lost a part of me. I’m a left above-knee amputee and my right leg was salvaged and put back together with rods and screws. If I could wish for one thing that would be for a swim leg so I can continue my recovery, both physically and mentally.
- Michelle, Army veteran/Iraq War

MICHIGAN NATIONAL GUARD FAMILY PROGRAMS

Many military families struggle through the holiday season. The service member may have had to take a pay cut due to being activated. The service member may be wounded, still transitioning to civilian life or have encountered an unforeseen financial emergency that is making it hard for them to provide for their children during the holidays. The Holidays across Michigan Adopt-A-Family program allows donors to adopt a military family in need during this time.

The process is simple. Those interested in sponsoring a military or veteran family contact Melissa Fricke at the Michigan National Guard Family Programs office. Let her know that you are looking for a family to adopt this holiday season. She can be contacted by phone at 517-599-5372 or email at Melissa.a.fricke.ctr@mail.mil.

Wish 1
I’m on my second deployment overseas. My current deployment has significantly reduced our household income. It’s not easy for me to reach out and ask for assistance but without a little help, my children won’t have a Christmas this year. I’m married with two daughters; my oldest is 19 and lives at home and is pregnant and my youngest daughter is 8. I also have a 16-year-old son. The requested items we are asking for help with are winter apparel and footwear, everyday clothing, and new pillows for everyone. For my 19-year-old, shirts and pants XL maternity; 8-year-old daughter, shirts 8-10 and pants size 8; 16-year-old son, shirts, men’s L and pants 34 w x 32 l.
- LeRoy, Army veteran (currently serving), OEF/OIF

Wish 2
My wish is for grocery and gas cards for myself and wife. I suffer from PTSD from deployments. I’m currently receiving unemployment and I’m actively looking for work. If you could help out I would greatly appreciate it. I have three children; two girls, ages 9 and 7 who could use clothing for Christmas. Their wish item is to have in-line skates and Barbie Dolls, and a son age 8 who would really like a new Legos set and also needs clothing. My 9-year-old daughter wears shirts size 14-16 girls, pants size 12-14 girls, shoe size 6 girls. My 7-year-old daughter wears shirts size 10-12 girls, pants size 8 girls, shoe size 4 girls. My 8-year-old son wears shirts size 10-12 boys, pants size 8 boys, shoe size 4 boys.
- Richard, Army veteran (currently serving), OEF/OIF

Wish 3
I’m not asking for anything for myself. I’m a single dad and soldier who is trying to make ends meet but have little extra to purchase anything other than necessities. I have three children; oldest is my 7-year-old daughter who would needs new boots and a winter coat (shirts sizes 8-10 girls and pants 8 girls, shoes size 6 girls), my son is 6-years-old and he also needs new boots and a winter coat (shirts sizes 8-10 boys, pants 8 boys and shoes size 6 boys) . Our youngest is a daughter, age 3, who needs winter clothes, new boots and a winter coat (shirts size 4 girls, pants 4 girls and shoes size 4 girls). My son wants to ask Santa Claus for toy cars and my youngest daughter would like a baby doll. My 7-year-old enjoys play makeup and silly stuff. We don’t mind having gentle used items.
- David, Army veteran (currently serving), OEF/OIF

AGENCIES THAT CAN HELP

There are a lot of people in our community who are struggling to make ends meet but there are several local organizations that can assist by providing low-cost services and materials.

Here are just a few agencies that are here to help:

Referral Service Hotline

United Way’s 211 is a free referral service hotline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all Kent County residents. It provides information about local services and programs to those in need. Call 211 or 1-800-887-1107. You can visit refersoftware.com/hwmi/ to view United Way’s comprehensive resource directory.

Clothes

The cold has officially set in, and Goodwill Industries can help with gently used donated clothes, shoes, and other items, available for a fraction of the cost of retail. The nonprofit organization operates 17 stores in Kent and Ottawa counties. Call 616-543-4200 for store locations or visit goodwillgr.org.

Dental/Medical

Cherry Street Health Services offers 11 health centers in the Grand Rapids area and provides preventative, restorative, and emergency dental care to low-income, uninsured, or underinsured children and families. Medical, behavioral, vision, health insurance and prescription assistances are also provided. Call 616-235-7272 or visit cherryhealth.org.

At 522 Leonard St. NW, Oasis of Hope Center provides low-cost/free medical care to the economically disadvantaged and uninsured. Services include urgent care, wellness exams, ongoing disease monitoring and treatment and cancer screening. Call 616-451-8868 or visit ohcgr.org/. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Personal Transportation

At 555 28th St. SE, Mel Trotter Ministries Auto Sales sells cars and trucks below blue book value to anyone 18 and older. All vehicles are road worthy and can be purchased outright. The office is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Proof of insurance is required, call 616-301-1415 or visit meltrotter.org/auto-sales.

Facing Foreclosure?

If you are struggling to keep up with mortgage payments, call Home Repair Services, or stop by at 1100 South Division Ave. The counselors help with new payment arrangements between homeowners and lending institutions. Call 616-241-2601 or visit homerepairservices.org.

Debt Management Counseling

Nonprofit GreenPath Debt Solutions, 3210 Eagle Run Drive NE, Suite 102, eases financial pressures through debt counseling, helps with lowering interest rates and waiving late fees with some creditors, consolidating debts and preventing foreclosure, repossession and utility shutoffs.

Initial counseling sessions are free, but debt management programs are available for a fee. Call 616-942-2119 or visit greenpath.com.

Kent County/Michigan State University Money Management Educator Dave Treul can help set up money management courses, and has experience as a counselor, banker, real-estate professional and even as a credit collector. He can be reached at 616-336-3265.

Article source: http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/11/military_wishes_2013_serving_o.html

Angel of Lower Wacker Drive

Patrick Angelo stops at the McDonald’s on Ontario Street, where his order of 80 hamburgers and 47 coffees is ready and waiting. He pays the tab and then gingerly places the boxes on the back seat of his black Cadillac before pulling out of the parking lot and heading east.

Angelo has followed that routine twice a week for the past dozen years, leaving his northwest suburban home to deliver dinner, blankets and other creature comforts to the homeless on Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive.

While many painstakingly avoid eye contact with street people, Angelo is the rare person who seeks them out — not as a member of any church group or social service agency but as a private citizen who feels compelled to assist the less fortunate, he said.

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In this season of giving thanks, the 61-year-old oral surgeon strives for a heightened state of gratitude year-round.

“I have a nice house, five healthy kids. … God has given me so much. It seems unfair not to repay his children,” he said.

Angelo’s weekly routine has not been chronicled by media, and he was reluctant to let a reporter and photographer accompany him after one of his patients told the Tribune about his charitable acts. He agreed, he said, because he hoped his story might inspire someone else.

He ventures into this subterranean world, waiting until after “my guys” have hit the commuter rush on Michigan Avenue, the most lucrative time and place for panhandling.

Only then does he start his 3-mile, 15-stop circuit, eyes trained on every loading dock, underpass, trash bin — anywhere that blocks the wind.

What might appear to be a pile of trash bags suddenly stirs to life. When Angelo detects even the slightest movement, he throws his car into park and jumps out, dropping off hamburgers and coffee, complete with four sugar packets and two creamers. The order never varies, except in the summer, when he swaps the coffee for Hi-C, “so they can stay hydrated,” he said.

As Angelo approaches, some people leap to their feet, running their fingers through their hair in a futile attempt at grooming. A few never leave their sleeping bags, accepting the provisions with barely a murmur. To Angelo, it makes no difference.

“I am here to serve them,” he said. “I think when they see someone like me down here, it gives them a lift.”

Like a door-to-door salesman, he flings open his merchandise-packed trunk. “What else do you need? Socks? Hats? Hand warmers?” Angelo grabs a couple of whimsical fleece throws emblazoned with cartoon characters — Barbie, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck — and wraps them around the twitchy shoulders of his recipients.

“Doc’s a good man,” said Brian Champ, 47, one of the regulars. “He doesn’t just bring you food … he brings companionship. You could call him an angel.”

Champ and his companion, Della Evans, 46, have been together for almost a dozen years, the last eight on Lower Wacker, they said. They eagerly take the McDonald’s food, which is sometimes their first protein of the day.

Last year, Evans collected the shoe sizes of all the women on the street and gave them to Doc, who promptly returned with 11 pairs of new, warm boots. “He really cares about all of us,” she said.

Both say they prefer the streets to shelters. “It’s just easier to be your own man out here … even though it gets a lot tougher in winter,” Champ said. “That’s when we just hang on to each other and pray we wake up.”

Still, Champ said he hopes to get a job — short-order cook, maintenance, washing dishes. “I’d do anything … including cleaning toilets,” he said

Darnell Owens, 38, said he was staying with his uncle until he discovered bedbugs. Owens preferred the pavement to “getting all loused up,” he said.

Others attribute their homelessness to foreclosure, parental death and bad breakups.

Angelo listens respectfully, but he’s heard it all before. There was a time when he tried to get everyone into a shelter or a treatment program, but they refused. Something — mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, an “anti-social” attitude — is keeping them stuck, he said.

Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-angel-of-lower-wacker-met-20131128,0,7195216.story

NeighborWorks America survey: Friends and family beat out housing …

NeighborWorks America survey: Friends and family beat out housing professionals as first stop for information when buying a home or trying to avoid foreclosure By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Real Estate Weekly News — The average home buyer looks to friends and family first when gathering information on the home-buying process, ahead of realtors by more than two to one and mortgage lenders by more than four to one in the latest homeownership survey from NeighborWorks America, one of the country’s leading housing and community development nonprofit corporations. The NeighborWorks America survey, conducted of 1,000 adults by Widmeyer Communications , a Finn Partners Company , found that 39 percent of people thinking of buying a home first seek advice from friends and family who own their home, while Realtors and mortgage lenders are approached just 16 and 9 percent of the time, respectively. Interestingly, the Internet is the second-most-used source of homeownership information at 17 percent. “Professionals involved in the home-buying process lag far behind when it comes to where consumers go first for information about what they overwhelmingly admit is a complicated undertaking,” said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen M. Fitzgerald . Although friends and family are the preferred first choice for advice, 75 percent of Americans agreed (42 percent strongly) that the home-buying process is complicated. Young homebuyers consider the home-buying process even more complicated, with 86 percent of respondents under 30 years old agreeing (60 percent strongly agreed). Seventy-seven percent of whites and Hispanics agreed that the home-buying process is complicated, while 65 percent of African-Americans said the same. Moreover, 81 percent of consumers said they know where to find reliable advice about the home-buying process, an indication that they go to friends and family not only because it’s convenient and comfortable, but because they believe their advice is reliable. Consumers under 30 years old are significantly more likely to discuss homeownership with friends and family, with 84 percent choosing that route, while the rate for people older than 55 is just 56 percent. Foreclosure prevention and mortgage scams Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have faced foreclosure in 2013 and even in this time of crisis, friends and family are where homeowners most often go for advice. According to the NeighborWorks America survey, 68 percent of homeowners are likely to look to friends and family for advice on preventing foreclosure or avoiding a loan- modification scam. Realtors and mortgage lenders are close second and third choices, at 63 percent and 60 percent, respectively. “The truth is that a homeowner working with his or her mortgage lender is the best thing to do to prevent foreclosure,” said Fitzgerald “Friends and family could provide important support during a very stressful process, but the first step for people facing foreclosure should be to talk to their lenders and then to a housing counselor.” For more information about the NeighborWorks America survey, go to http://www.nw.org/network/newsroom/HousingSurvey2013.asp Note: Widmeyer Communications , a Finn Partners Company , conducted a national representative survey among 1,000 U.S. adults using a random digit dial (RDD) sample. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. Keywords for this news article include: Mortgage, Foreclosure, Real Estate, Homeownership, NeighborWorks America. Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2013, NewsRx LLC

Article source: http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/11/27/neighborworks_america_survey_friends_and_family.htm

A Thousand Homes Saved From Foreclosure, Non-Profit Says – Eric Alvarez

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Updated: Wednesday, November 27 2013, 11:56 PM CST
Stream Fox 17 newscasts LIVE starting with Fox 17 This Morning at 5 am and News at 9 pm.


NASHVILLE,
Tenn.– Affordable Housing Resources has saved 1,000 homes from foreclosure, the Nashville-based non-profit said in a Wednesday press conference.

     Dorothy Fisher was all smiles, as she shook hands with Nashville mayor Karl Dean, at the welcome get-together following a difficult year and a half.

Fisher worked as an administrative assistant at Meharry Medical College for 20 years, until the school let her go last summer.

“I was devastated when I lost my job,” Fisher said.  “I exhausted what little savings i had to try to keep my mortgage.”

Nearing the end of her rope, she reached out to Affordable Housing Resources, a non-profit that helped her fight off foreclosure and keep her home.

“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Fisher said.  “I think God opened a door for me.”

Affordable Housing Resources announced Fisher was just one of 1,000 middle Tennessee homeowners the Nashville-based non-profit helped avoid foreclosure.

“That’s quite an accomplishment for one agency,” Dean said.  “I shudder to think about where Nashville would be without this combination of non-profits and government and individuals coming together.

Dean joined U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) in recognizing their efforts inside the non-profit’s Metrocenter headquarters.

“As a nation, we’ve had a housing crisis and a banking crisis for the last five years now but we’re working our way out of that,” Cooper said.

Fisher is still working to get back on her feet and says being able to keep her home, makes the light at the end of the tunnel shine a little brighter.

“[Thursday] I’m having my family over at my place,” Fisher said.  “Without Affordable Housing, we wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving dinner and I wouldn’t have my granddaughter and my grandson over to enjoy that festivity.”

You can learn more about the organization by visiting the Fox Links section of this website.

Follow us on Twitter @wztv_fox17 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates.A Thousand Homes Saved From Foreclosure, Non-Profit Says – Eric Alvarez


Article source: http://www.fox17.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/a-thousand-homes-saved-foreclosure-nonprofit-says-eric-alvarez-17976.shtml

State to end program for homeowners fighting foreclosure as federal money … – The Star-Ledger

After a shaky start, New Jersey has disbursed more than two-thirds of the federal funds it received in 2010 as part of the Hardest Hit program to help prevent foreclosures and will soon end the program.

The state Division of Consumer Affairs reported it had distributed more than $206 million of the $300.5 million it received as one of the 18 states designated as Hardest Hit under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

New Jersey funneled the money into the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs’ NJ HomeKeeper, a foreclosure program that targets the unemployed.

The DCA confirmed yesterday it will stop accepting applications by Saturday.

Tammori Petty, a spokeswoman for the agency, said $53.4 million remained to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. The remainder of the money had been directed toward administrative and educational purposes.

Petty said the program has assisted 5,068 homeowners who were in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.

Since the program was launched in 2011, the agency received more than 12,200 applications. About 5,500 homeowners were denied aid for varying reasons, Petty said.

The DCA recently capped the maximum assistance at $24,000, Petty said, “to be able to assist more homeowners.”

About 58 percent of those who got help were more than 90 days behind on their mortgage payments, said Petty.

When the HomeKeeper program started 2011 it drew criticism for the snail-like pace at which it helped homeowners. By mid-year, 1,300 homeowners had applied, and no loans had been approved. By the end of that year, 56 loans were closed and little more than 10 percent of the money had been distributed.

Gov. Chris Christie admitted the program wasn’t working and ordered DCA Commisioner Richard Constable to relax the regulations.

In 2010, when the Hardest Hit funds were distributed, about 58,000 homeowners had filed for foreclosure in New Jersey, according to the state Division of Banking and Insurance. The previous year there were nearly 67,000 filings.

A report from the New Brunswick-based Otteau Valuation Group found foreclosure rates in New Jersey dropped to 10.5 percent last month from 10.8 percent in September, but the figure still ranks as the second highest in the nation behind Florida’s 11.9 percent delinquency.

Otteau found a high percentage of homes in foreclosure — 18.4 percent — are in coastal towns hit by Hurricane Sandy.

According to a quarterly report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, New Jersey is performing better than most of the other states designated as Hardest Hit. Of $7.6 billion the federal government provided, the 18 states have disbursed only $3 billion.

Some of the states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis have distributed the lowest percentages, including Florida (26 percent), Michigan (29 percent), Arizona (34 percent) and California (36 percent), the report noted.

States that have distributed a greater percentage of the federal funds than New Jersey include Rhode Island (84 percent), Oregon (70 percent). Washington D.C. also disbursed a greater percentage at 68 percent.

Article source: http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2013/11/state_to_end_program_for_homeo.html

Couple wins fight to avoid foreclosure

HOLT, Mo. – Tim and Lindey Craft can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that their two-year fight to modify their home loan is over.

“We are actually feeling somewhat free and happy,” Tim said.

“I’m very, very thankful that we are sitting here today,” Lindey said.

Two years ago, illness and unemployment led to the threat of foreclosure for the couple.

Their home sits in a quiet, rural area north of Kansas City.  They tried to modify their loan through mortgage holder Bank of America. They say they repeatedly submitted documents only to be asked to resubmit them again.

They got nowhere.

The couple contacted Call for Action this summer for help who connected them with CHES, Inc., a HUD approved non-profit organization that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. 

The organization said the problems facing the Crafts are common. 

“Nonprofit organizations like CHES, Inc., we work as an advocate for the consumer so we are able to level that playing field and give them a little more advantage,” Ron Farmer of CHES said.

Since this summer, the Crafts’ mortgage has been sold to another lender. In recent days, the couple learned their modification went through; their monthly payments will drop by nearly $300.

“The weight of the world has come off our shoulders,” Tim said.

To contact CHES, Inc., call 816-533-7417.  

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.kshb.com/dpp/money/consumer/call_for_action/couple-wins-fight-to-avoid-foreclosure

High foreclosure states fail to get aid to homeowners

Some of the states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis aren’t spending millions of dollars that the federal government has set aside to help struggling homeowners, a new report shows.

Of $7.6 billion the federal government has provided in the “Hardest Hit Fund” to help homeowners, states have disbursed only $3 billion, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan service that provides information to Congress.

The Hardest Hit Fund is one of several initiatives the federal government created in the aftermath of the recession to help families keep their homes. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have 66 programs that use money from the Hardest Hit Fund, which is allocated to each state depending on various factors, including the impact of the housing crisis in the state and the percentage of residents who are unemployed or underemployed.

CRS found that states have disbursed widely varying percentages of their Hardest Hit money, from 21 percent in Alabama to 84 percent in Rhode Island. Some of the states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis have distributed the lowest percentages, including Florida (26 percent), Michigan (29 percent), Arizona (34 percent) and California (36 percent).  As of October, Florida still had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate. Nevada, which has distributed a little more than half of its Hardest Hit money,

had the second highest rate.

In addition to Rhode Island, Oregon and the District of Columbia also disbursed a relatively high percentage of their Hardest Hit money, nearly 70 percent.

The first dollars from the Hardest Hit Fund flowed to California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Michigan in February 2010. Those states had the largest declines in home prices and high foreclosure rates. Later in 2010, the federal government expanded the program to 13 states and D.C., all of which had unemployment rates higher than the national average. States are required to submit plans to the Treasury, which administers the program, explaining how they would use the money.

Critics say the Treasury is at least partly to blame for states’ low payout rates.  In a separate report in late October, the Office of the Special Inspector General criticized the Treasury for failing to specify how many homeowners states should help.

Last month, the Treasury approved changes to some of these states’ Hardest Hit programs:

  • Arizona created a waiver allowing homeowners to receive assistance that exceeds the $2,000 per month cap, but the maximum assistance still can’t exceed $48,000.
  • New Jersey reduced the maximum assistance available to homeowners to $24,000.
  • South Carolina received approval to launch a new program that provides up to $36,000 in principal reduction to homeowners when they modify a loan.

These changes were included in the latest monthly report that the Treasury provides to Congress on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Information about the Hardest Hit initiatives in the 18 states and D.C., including state web sites, fact sheets and quarterly reports, can be found here.

Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy

Article source: http://www.currentargus.com/ci_24612319/high-foreclosure-states-fail-get-aid-homeowners