Free Help Available for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

May 22, 2008

Columbus, GA (WTVM)--"One out of every 200 homes will be foreclosed upon this year, every three months, 250,000 new families will enter into foreclosure," says Melanie Faison of NeighborWorks.

Sometimes the numbers speak louder than words.  But even those statistics are conservative compared to what's been happening lately in the housing market across the country.

Research from RealtyTrac shows nearly 250,000 homes across the country were foreclosed on just last month.

Officials say that's the highest monthly total they've seen since they started issuing the report in 2005.

The good news though, more help is on the way to local homeowners.

Officials with Neighborworks Columbus joined the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to announce it had received a grant worth up to $80,000 dollars to provide foreclosure prevention counseling.

"What this means is that we can help more families, that we expand more operations, to get more people in the door, more counselors manning the phones to help more homeowners," says Faison.

The agency already provides these services, but with the additional funds, they've hired another counselor.

Faison says it should help with the recent increase in calls.  She says they see at least five new cases a week.

Counseling sessions begin with helping the homeowner understand the issue.

"Once we do that, we do budgeting and we find out who has funding for emergency funds, we see if staying in the house is an option, we see if they have enough income to maintain the mortgage and then we contact the lender," adds Faison.

Experts say with the current state of the market, lenders are much more eager to negotiate.

But, it starts with homeowners.

"Don't just sit back and think I'm here in this by myself and there's nothing I can do," says Beth Spears of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

You can contact Neighborworks Columbus at (706) 324-4663, or Consumer Credit Counseling of West Georgia and East Alabama at (706) 327-3239.