HUD Atlanta Regional Director
(404) 331-5001 ext. 2008
July 14, 2007
FORECLOSURE PREVENTION WORKSHOP
Keeping Borrowers in Their Homes
MEMPHIS - On July 14, 2007, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Memphis Field Office Director Yvonne Leander opened a workshop on foreclosure prevention strategies at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library. Joining her and HUD Atlanta Homeownership Director Charles Gardner were Countrywide Home Loans, Homecomings Financial, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, The Works, Inc., the Bankruptcy Trustee and concerned homeowners and borrowers. The focus of this workshop was to bring borrowers and lenders together to discuss foreclosure prevention strategies and introduce borrowers to housing counselors to address available options for homeowners in default or facing foreclosure.
Memphis has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the U.S., with 6,018 foreclosure notices recorded since January 1, 2007. To address the issue of foreclosure and what it does to families and communities, HUD along with its
partners the Memphis Mortgage Bankers Association, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors and the Memphis Housing Counseling Network presented today's workshop to offer options, timelines and realistic solutions for homeowners. Participating housing counseling agencies included Vollintine Evergreen Community Association, Frayser Community Development Corporation, Southeast Memphis Community Development Corporation and the Memphis
Area Legal Services.
A recent HUD sponsored homeownership summit found that half of all homeowners facing foreclosure are afraid to contact their lender or bank for assistance. However, most were willing to speak with a local non-profit counseling agency, but did not know how to contact them. If a borrower is interested but could not attend this workshop, call (901) 725-8361 for a referral to a housing counselor.
The key to avoiding scams or being steered into accepting a risky loan is the ability to diligently read and
comprehend the fine print of a mortgage while also not being worried about asking for help when needed. Housing counseling agencies can help homeowners act prudently when making informed financial decisions, while also
avoiding high-risk, high-cost loans that place them at greater risk of foreclosure.
Too many families have been steered into accepting high-cost, high-risk loans. Teaser rates and balloon payments have confused many buyers, which is why the Bush Administration has increased the budget for counseling from $13 million to more than $41 million - a 200 percent increase - to help prepare families to buy their first home, avoid predatory lending practices, and assist current homeowners facing default. In the coming fiscal year, the President has requested another increase - to $50 million - for housing counseling grants.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.