Tuesday, August 3, 2010

NeighborWorks America Joins Forces with HUD, Treasury and Atlanta Area Congressmen in an Effort to Prevent Home Foreclosures

NeighborWorks America CEO Ken Wade joined HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Atlanta Congressmen John Lewis, David Scott and Hank Johnson at a recent “Help for Homeowners” event. The two-day event, which kicked-off on Friday, July 30, at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta, was hosted by HUD, the US Department of Treasury, the Hope Now Alliance and NeighborWorks America. More than 2,300 homeowners attended and had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with their mortgage lenders or HUD-approved counseling agencies to find out if they qualify for various modification options, including the Making Home Affordable Program.

Maryanne Tavarez of Union City, a suburb of Atlanta, was glad to meet with her lender. Tavarez was forced to stop working due to a work disability. Then, her husband lost his job, and abandoned both her and the house. “My husband just got frustrated and moved out of the house and left no money. I applied for a modification as a single person and my brother said he would buy my house,” said Tavarez. “But, on July 6 they foreclosed on my house. I was scared every day and did not know when the Sherriff would show me out. Citi Mortgage sent me an invitation to attend this event. I thought maybe if I go it will all work out.”

Tavarez got her wish. She met with representatives from Citi Mortgage who reviewed her case and modified her loan to affordable monthly payments. “Citi went above and beyond the call of duty. They listened, looked and checked and said that I will no longer be in foreclosure,” said a beaming Tavarez.

In recent years, the number of failed mortgages more than doubled in Metropolitan Atlanta. The rate of foreclosures in the area is currently 3.18 percent, which is slightly higher than the national average of 3.15 percent.

Larry Gilmore, acting director of HOPE Now and CEO of HOPE LoanPort and Phyllis Caldwell, chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation office were also in attendance at the event. They were joined by NeighborWorks representatives Marietta Rodriguez, national director of Homeownership and Lending and Hillary Wiley, communications and public affairs management consultant. Wiley was on point for media relations and co-hosted the loan modification scam alert table with Rodriguez.

NeighborWorks Southern District Director Don Phoenix had the opportunity to mingle with the congressmen and interact with several homeowners in crisis. “There are a lot of people in need, and this event provides an option for getting some assistance,” said Phoenix. “It was a very well done event.”

Help for Homeowners was covered by FOX News and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.