Homeownership Preservation Foundation Sees Significant Jump in Calls from Homeowners Facing Foreclosure;
Foundation Adds Fifth Counseling Partner in Efforts to Counsel Homeowners
MINNEAPOLIS (April 23, 2007) - The Homeownership Preservation Foundation has reported a significant jump in the number of homeowners calling its 888-995-HOPE hotline for assistance in avoiding foreclosure. The national hotline (for more information, go to http://www.995hope.org), which helps individuals and families who are behind on their mortgage payments, received more than 14,000 calls during the first quarter of 2007, a 30 percent increase over the fourth quarter 2006. More than 25,000 homeowners called the hotline in all of 2006.
"Currently, more than 300 homeowners call 888-995-HOPE daily," said Colleen Hernandez, president and executive director of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation. "The increase in the number of calls is a direct result of the rising number of homeowners suddenly finding themselves in the position of potentially losing their homes combined with the growing awareness of the hotline as a result of a nationwide public service campaign. There are thousands of homeowners who are at serious risk of losing their homes unless they take action now."
The Homeownership Preservation Foundation, in partnership with mortgage lenders, nonprofit organizations and city government agencies, provides homeowners with counseling and resources to help homeowners resolve their mortgage troubles. Homeowners who call the 888-995-HOPE number can receive free advice and counseling from nonprofit, HUD-certified organizations - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Foundation recently added a fifth HUD-approved agency in its efforts to help counsel homeowners. CCCS of San Francisco joins Auriton Solutions, CCCS of Atlanta, Novadebt, and Springboard, who together create the primary counseling center for the 888-995-HOPE hotline.
CCCS of San Francisco has been providing financial education and counseling to families nationwide for 38 years. Since 1969, hundreds of thousands of individuals and families have turned to CCCS for help with money management, credit, debt, and housing issues. Its Housing Education Program is recognized nationally by lenders, community organizations, private corporations and foundations as an outstanding resource for families struggling with the challenges of homeownership.
"We are pleased to partner with the Homeownership Preservation Foundation," said Rick Harper, vice president and director of housing for CCCS of San Francisco. "We look forward to being able to help homeowners around the country find real solutions to their homeownership dilemmas."
About the Homeownership Preservation Foundation
The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) is a Minneapolis-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to reducing foreclosures and preserving homeownership for American homeowners. The Foundation was formed in September 2004 with a $20 million seed contribution from GMAC ResCap (Residential Capital, LLC), one of the nation's largest real estate finance companies. The Foundation partners with city, county and state governments; federal government agencies; community-based non-profit organizations; and mortgage companies to offer creative solutions to preserve homeownership. For more information about the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, please visit http://www.hpfonline.org.
About Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco is a nonprofit financial counseling service and personal finance resource center. Since 1969, CCCS has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals and families overcome their financial challenges and reach their goals. CCCS is a HUD-certified housing counseling agency, accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children and a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. CCCS provides counseling and education in English and Spanish, in person and via telephone.
The Housing Education Program of CCCS of San Francisco partners with lenders, government agencies, foundations and corporations nationwide to provide necessary housing education and counseling to families seeking their first home, as well as those struggling to avoid foreclosure. Since its inception in 1994, the Housing Education Program has assisted over 100,000 families in achieving the American Dream of homeownership through its counseling and education programs, while helping tens of thousands more determine a viable plan for keeping their home when faced with foreclosure.
For more information about CCCS of San Francisco and the Housing Education Program, please visit www.cccssf.org and www.housingeducation.org.
Defaults/Foreclosures Up; CCCS-SF Steps In;
Non-profit Helps Panicked Homeowners with Options and Strategy
March 26, 2007 – Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco (CCCS-SF) is stepping up efforts to help homeowners keep their property out of foreclosure. The non-profit organization reports a dramatic increase in calls from nervous mortgage holders over the last few months. Payments for many adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and subprime loans have gone up by 25, even 50 percent, leaving millions of borrowers in serious financial trouble. CCCS-SF is urging homeowners who are having difficulty making payments to come to them for information and guidance on how to best approach the problem.
ARMs and subprime mortgages have enabled homebuyers who stretched their finances or had less than perfect credit to purchase property, but the recent adjustment has left many of them unable to afford the higher payment. A good number of homeowners have very little “wriggle room” with their budgets, and not much (if any) savings. Because of this, the slightest fluctuation in expenses and income causes major cash-flow damage. Early intervention – contacting the lender before missing a payment is best, but there are also options for borrowers who are currently behind.
The first and most important step anxious homeowners need to take is to analyze their finances and make sensible, realistic changes. This includes developing a comprehensive budget, reducing or eliminating unnecessary expenses, or increasing income with a second or part-time job. To help consumers organize their finances and develop a plan of action, CCCS-SF provides budget and debt counseling, at no charge. Understanding cash flow – both current and proposed – is important before communicating with lenders, who will need that information to help with solutions.
Some homeowners may be able to refinance their loan, trading it in for a longer-term mortgage with less expensive payments, or secure a fixed-rate loan, which offers the security of a consistent rate and payment. However, since refinancing is credit based, this option may not be available for homeowners already in default. Additionally, closing costs can be high, putting them out of a cash-strapped borrower’s reach.
When communicating with lenders, organization is key. The first step is to write a “Statement of the Problem” letter, which clearly and honestly explains why the borrower is, or will be, delinquent. Homeowners should also know their current cash flow situation, as well as the amount of equity they have in the home. With this information, they can begin to present solutions, which may be a forbearance agreement - either lower or no payments for a set period of time, or a loan modification, where one or more terms of the mortgage are changed to reduce the payment.
Homeowners are encouraged to recognize the importance of considering at all their alternatives. If the monthly payments are just too high for comfort they may be able to sell the property and downsize, either by buying a less expensive home or choosing to rent instead.
What CCCS-SF can do
The stress homeowners feel when their monthly mortgage payment goes up can be overwhelming. CCCS-SF counselors are ready to help by discussing all the feasible methods a borrower can use to keep the home, creating a detailed budget, and developing personal strategy to achieve their goal.
CCCS-SF is a HUD certified housing counseling agency and an accredited nonprofit financial counseling and personal finance resource center. In addition to housing education services, CCCS-SF offers money management assistance and a debt repayment program. For more information contact Erica Sandberg at (415) 788-0288 ext. 224, or log onto www.cccssf.org.
Behind on Mortgage? Get Help Before Foreclosure or Bankruptcy:
87% of Delinquent Borrowers Kept Home With Counseling, Review Finds
February 14, 2005 – For those behind on their mortgage payments, the most efficient way to avoid foreclosure may be as simple as getting high quality financial counseling – fast. According to a recent loan performance review conducted by Self-Help, a North Carolina based community development lender, early delinquency intervention in the form of financial counseling helps the vast majority of defaulted mortgage borrowers keep their home.
Data for the review was collected from a collaboration between Self Help and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco (CCCS-SF), a nonprofit credit counseling and financial education agency. In the twelve-month period ending August 2004, CCCS-SF received referrals for 809 families whose mortgage payments were more than forty-five days late. The results were overwhelmingly positive: 87 percent of the delinquent borrowers who were referred for counseling retained their homes; only eight percent had gone to foreclosure and five percent filed bankruptcy.
The program was created in 2002 to help homeowners in financial crisis avoid foreclosure by providing them with emergency money management and housing counseling. Program participants receive a detailed action plan for their housing and non-housing financial issues, budget and debt management education, and learn how to effectively interact with the loan servicer.
Self Help attributes the program’s success to the immediate, comprehensive counseling given by CCCS-SF, and a variety of loan servicers who are willing to work with the counseled borrowers.
“We have been providing housing counseling to help families avoid foreclosure for many years and it strengthens our resolve to see solid, verifiable results of our counseling efforts,” said Rick Harper, Vice President of CCCS-SF, of the review’s statistics.
Since 1969, CCCS-SF has been helping Americans manage their money, repay debt, and achieve and maintain homeownership. Self-Help Credit Union reaches people who are underserved by conventional lenders.
AVOID FORECLOSURE: GET FINANCIAL COUNSELING
Review Proves Long-Term Benefits of Professional Assistance
December 10, 2003 – Does financial counseling keep struggling Americans from losing their homes and declaring bankruptcy? According to Self-Help Credit Union, the answer is a resounding "yes."
The conclusion came from data collected from a collaboration between Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco (CCCS-SF), a non-profit credit counseling agency, and Self Help Credit Union, a North Carolina based community development lender. The partnership was created to help homeowners who are in financial crisis avoid foreclosure by providing them with emergency money management and housing counseling.
From August 2002 through September 2003, Self-Help referred 618 families whose mortgage payments were over forty-five days late to CCCS-SF. Those homeowners who participated in the program received immediate counseling sessions that focused on their goal of remaining in their home.
Self-Help conducted a loan performance review and the results were impressive: 90% of the borrowers who received counseling had retained their homes and only 10% had gone to foreclosure or filed bankruptcy.
Gaining empirical evidence of financial counseling's long-term benefits is "exciting," said Rick Harper, Vice President of CCCS-SF, after hearing the results of the review. "It is rewarding to be certain that our program assists homeowners - both those who already own and those who want to keep their homes out of foreclosure."
CCCS-SF has a thirty-four year history of helping Americans manage their money, repay debt, and achieve and maintain homeownership. Self-Help reaches people who are underserved by conventional lenders - particularly minorities, women, rural residents, and low-wealth families through the support of socially responsible citizens and institutions across the U.S.