NeighborWorks America Provides One Million With Foreclosure Counseling
This morning NeighborWorks America announced that one million homeowners have received foreclosure counseling from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program (NFMC), as part of the NeighborWorks Center for Foreclosure Solutions (NWCFS) since the program started in March 2008.
NeighborWorks America is a national nonprofit organization created by Congress to provide financial support, technical assistance, and training for community-based revitalization efforts. Today, their biggest effort is foreclosure prevention, according to Douglas Robinson of NeighborWorks America.
“We’ve been counseling people about foreclosure and the economy. People are in tough straights and we help clients decide what they can get rid of and provide economic advice on how to go about things differently,” Robinson says.
The foreclosure counseling is free; costs are covered by the $475 million in federally appropriated dollars NeighborWorks America received, and with one million homeowners counseled it seems like many Americans are taking up the offer for free advice.
Since their last report on May 28, 2010 over 100,000 homeowners have received counseling. That’s around 40,000 homeowners per month.
And the program anticipates even more people will be seeking counseling, as NeighborWorks America predicts 4 million more homeowners are expected to enter into foreclosure this year.
“As families face unaffordable mortgage payments and the prospect of foreclosure, housing counselors are a valuable resource to help homeowners understand their options and obtain a fair modification from their lenders,” said Senate THUD Chairwoman Patty Murray (WA). “This is an important milestone, but we know the work to help families being foreclosed on is far from complete.”
Along with their announcement of reaching out to one million homeowners, NeighborWorks America’s latest survey also reported:
- 58 percent of homeowners facing foreclosure reported job loss or reduced income as the primary reason for foreclosure;
- In 2007, the primary reason homeowners fell into foreclosure was interest rate hikes and monthly mortgage payment increases on subprime adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs);
- 60 percent of homeowners who received counseling through the NFMC Program were more likely to avoid losing their home to foreclosure than homeowners who do not seek counseling.
While foreclosure counseling may stem from a negative, Robinson finds a positive in the situation, “It’s important to note that because of the counseling dollars that have come to us we’ve maintained jobs at the counseling centers we have. Jobs have been saved and created because of the money.”
Homeowners who would like to receive free foreclosure counseling from a NFMC Program-funded counseling organization in their community can visit www.findaforeclosurecounselor.org.