Community Foreclosure Mitigation Toolkit: Step Two

Raise Awareness
Surveys show many at-risk homeowners often fail to seek help. They may be embarrassed or don’t know where to turn. Stress can make dealing with credit problems even harder. Community leaders serve a crucial role by helping consumers find quality housing counselors at the first sign of trouble.

Whether you’re a renter, prospective homebuyer or you’re a homeowner struggling with your mortgage, KnowYourOptions.com by Fannie Mae can help. This site provides valuable information along with tips and tools.

FreddieMac offers resources and useful tools about the homeownership decision and avoiding foreclosure.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a database of HUD-approved counseling agencies. Additional information, including financing options, can be obtained from the Federal Housing Administration.

Community leaders can also reach borrowers by sponsoring homeownership events, public service announcements, and brochures and websites.

Build Partnerships
One important way to strengthen foreclosure outreach is to build strong partnerships with existing state and local coalitions and task forces. If there are no existing coalitions or task forces in your area, you can start one by reaching out to grassroots and faith-based groups, legal aid offices, housing counseling organizations, community development organizations, and city and state consumer protection departments.

Host Homeownership Events
Conducting foreclosure prevention workshops in community locations such as schools and public libraries has been proven successful in helping borrowers avoid foreclosure.

HOPE NOW Homeowner Preservation Workshops are typically held in large metro areas. They benefit from a national partnership with NeighborWorks America and an alliance with more than 25 lenders to allow borrowers to meet with loan servicers and housing counselors.

Community Foreclosure Mitigation Workshops are typically hosted by a local coalition or task force in a meeting place located near an area of concentrated foreclosure activity. Participating loan servicers send invitations to their delinquent borrowers in area ZIP codes. Local municipalities post notices of the workshops on their websites and in their public facilities.

Freddie Mac maintains a national calendar of consumer outreach events.

Reach Out to Consumers
Community leaders are employing many direct approaches to reach troubled homeowners, making use of information and materials available from local and national organizations. These approaches include public service announcements (PSAs), mailings, flyers, press releases, and public television partnerships.

Access National Resources
A number of national organizations and government agencies maintain rich informational websites to assist communities and consumers in dealing with foreclosure issues, including prevention, mitigation, counseling, loan modifications, neighborhood stabilization and foreclosure-rescue scams.

Enterprise Community Partners is a national nonprofit with more than 25 years of experience in the community development and affordable housing field.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation is a national nonprofit that helps local organizations access national resources and expertise.

NeighborWorks America was created by Congress to provide financial support, technical assistance and training for community-based revitalization efforts. It supports a wide range of programs.

The Homeownership Preservation Foundation provides information and videos that explain alternatives to foreclosure and operates a national hotline—888-995-HOPE (4673)—available in both English and Spanish. Callers can be referred to local nonprofit counseling assistance.

Making Home Affordable is a comprehensive federal financial stability plan to address problems at the heart of the crisis and help make monthly mortgage payments more affordable for troubled homeowners.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency provides consumer and community information on foreclosure prevention.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides consumers and community foreclosure assistance and links to foreclosure rescue and loan modification scam awareness resources.

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System provides foreclosure-help resources to both consumers and communities. It also connects with all 12 Federal Reserve Banks.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides links to consumer resources, government programs and HUD-approved, nonprofit counseling agencies.

Identify Foreclosure Alternatives
Identifying and understanding the alternatives to foreclosure can help prevent problems before they occur or significantly reduce the pain. Local housing counselors are good sources for helping consumers find options. Just understanding the different terms can guide consumers to the right course of action.

Glossary of Mortgage and Foreclosure Terms from Family Services, Inc.

Renters in Foreclosure Toolkit from the National Loan Income Housing Coalition

National Industry Foreclosure Counseling Centers provides standards of service for housing and foreclosure counselors

Prevent Foreclosure Rescue/Loan-Modification Scams
NeighborWorks Loan-Modification-Scam Alert
Federal Trade Commission Foreclosure-Scam-Prevention Site
Prevent Loan Scams, a project of The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law