Making Home Affordable eases fear of foreclosure

For Immediate Release
September 16, 2013
Contact: Joan Lawrence-Bauer
845-331-2140 x 263

Kingston, NY — 09/16/2013 — A unique collaboration of counselors and mortgage providers will host a “hands-on-help” event for Hudson Valley residents struggling to make their mortgage payments at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel on September 27. HUD certified foreclosure counselors from Hudson River Housing, Orange RDAC and RUPCO will do free foreclosure counseling and other home counseling sessions with any homeowner, regardless of the status of their current mortgage. Bank of America, Chase Bank and Wells Fargo will give direct, one-on-one assistance to anyone who is seeking a modification of a mortgage with their banks. Representatives from Legal Services of the Hudson Valley will be on hand to provide free legal advice on both foreclosure and bankruptcy laws to those who attend.

In announcing the event, RUPCO CEO Kevin O’Connor noted that while financial recovery is underway in the valley, the pace of recovery is very slow. According to estimates provided by the Empire Justice Center:

  • In Ulster County 560 homeowners were between 60-90 days late, 1,582 were 90+ days late, 2,721homeowners were in foreclosure.
  • In Orange County, 1,053 were two to three months behind, 3,621 were over 90 days delinquent and 5,589 were in foreclosure.
  • In Dutchess, 753 were behind 60 to 90 days, 2,475 were over 90 days behind and 3,874 were in foreclosure.

Job loss needn’t cause foreclosure

“With more than 1,000 job cuts in the Hudson Valley at IBM alone, people are really worried about how they will pay their mortgages,” said O’Connor. “We put heavy emphasis on the importance of seeking help as early as possible,” O’Connor added. “The sooner we see people, the more options they have, the more help we can provide and the greater the chances that they will achieve the outcome they seek – which us usually hanging onto their homes at somewhat reduced costs.”

Kathy Germain, RUPCO’s Vice President for Housing Services, said the event in September is a big one. “I don’t know of any other event that has brought together lawyers, bankers and counselors. Getting all of those people in the same room at the same time is a huge benefit to people who are afraid of losing their homes.”

Hands-on-help; free legal services

Germain went on to say that by offering many different types of help, the service providers there will be able to assist people no matter where they are in the process. “Whether they are just losing a job and starting to be afraid, or already behind in their payments, the people at this event will be able to provide great advice,” said Germain. In general, three different types of help will be provided as follows:

  • People who have a mortgage with Chase, Bank of America or Wells Fargo can actually meet directly with representatives from those two institutions who can fast track them through the application for a modification.
  • People with mortgages from other banks, or seeking information on all their options may meet individually with a HUD certified counselor who can help them assess their situations and start planning accordingly.
  • People who need legal advise on foreclosure or bankruptcy or who just want to get general information on how foreclosure works, what their rights are and what sorts of help are available may just drop in.

Germain said no appointments are necessary for general information or counseling at this event, but that anyone who wants to meet one-on-one with one of the bank representatives must make an appointment ahead of time. Appointments can be made in English or in Spanish by contacting Joanna Mercado at 845-331-9860 or e-mailing her at [email protected]

The event will begin at 8:00 AM at the Grand Hotel on Market Street in Poughkeepsie and will last until 4:00 PM. There will be a free continental breakfast provided for those who make appointments ahead of time and come in during the morning hours. People may stay at the event as long as it takes them to have all of their concerns addressed.

When the foreclosure crisis hit the Hudson Valley in late 2007, many local housing counseling agencies ramped up capacity to assist homeowners in need. Six years later, homeowners are still being affected by foreclosures. While there are many program to help homeowners, many find it difficult to navigate government programs or to working directly with lenders. RUPCO, Hudson River Housing and Orange County Rural Development Advisory Corporation (OCRDAC) are all HUD certified counseling agencies with counselors that are certified in foreclosure prevention. The agencies have assisted thousands of households facing foreclosure. Non-profit counseling agencies are able to provide free assistance to at-risk homeowners with a range of services, including direct advocacy with lenders, financial counseling and assistance preparing the complex documentation that homeowners need in order to submit applications for loan modifications; an outcome that usually results in lower monthly mortgage payments and prevents foreclosures from going forward but which can take more than a year to negotiate.

Who should attend the event

Homeowners with Chase, Bank of America or Wells Fargo mortgages or loans serviced by these institutions that are having difficulty paying their mortgage, behind on their mortgage or have modifications pending should call 845-331-9860 today and schedule an appointment to meet with representatives to go over their options.

In addition, anyone in need of information regarding the foreclosure process, settlement conferences, those behind on payments or struggling to make payments, or even those with modifications pending with other lenders that are not advancing should call or just stop by to talk to an attorney or counselor on how we can assist.

The Making Home Affordable® Program (MHA) is a government program that was extended through December of 2015 this past spring. MHA is a critical part of the Obama administration’s broad strategy to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, stabilize the country’s housing market, and improve the nation’s economy. Depending on the situation, homeowners can lower their monthly mortgage payments with rate reductions and/or extensions of their term. If homeownership is no longer affordable, or desirable, there are programs that can provide a way out, while avoiding foreclosure. There are also options for unemployed homeowners and homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth.

For more information, contact any of these HUD certified foreclosure counseling agencies: Hudson River Housing – www.hudsonriverhousing.org; RDAC – www.ocrdac.org or RUPCO – www.rupco.org.

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