Nearly 68,000 homeowners nationwide have attended one of the free events, officials say, with about 70 percent reporting they had fallen behind due to an unexpected financial hardship.
“We know that when a homeowner seeks housing counseling they have a better than 50 percent chance of staying in their home,” said Jane Vincent, a HUD regional administrator.
Since 2009, more than 5 million homeowners have gotten help to avoid foreclosure through government and mortgage company programs, according to Tim Massad, the Treasury department’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability.
“We’ve seen foreclosure notices cut in half from early 2009,” said Vincent of HUD. “Though much progress has been made, there is still more work to do.”
As part of the events, the administration has hosted dozens of roundtable discussions across the country with community leaders, to discuss challenges in their local housing markets, as well as possible solutions.
There have also been more than 400 free training seminars for some 60,000 real estate agents, housing counselors and other partners nationwide, to share resource information for homeowners in their communities.
“We encourage any homeowner who is struggling with their mortgage payments to get free help understanding their options and next steps,” said Risotto.
But she cautioned that “there are an increasing number of scammers out there,” and homeowners should be vigilant.
“The federal government provides resources for free. Homeowners should never pay for assistance. Homeowners should always check with their mortgage company before making a payment to any third party.”
For the first time in a long time, Dewitt feels hopeful.
“I don’t know what will happen, but my faith in God is strong. I got a lifetime of information—it was an education. And I plan to tell others.”
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.Additional sessions are planned in the coming months in the following cities: Foxborough, Massachusetts (August 28); Detroit, Michigan (September 11) and Nashville, Tennessee (October 24). For more information: MakingHomeAffordable.gov; http://www.HopeNow.com or (888) 995-HOPE.