Counseling Program Supports Families Facing Foreclosure, Stabilizes Neighborhoods
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 9, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that $229,140 has been awarded to the Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, Inc. to provide foreclosure counseling to local families. The National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program funds are awarded on a competitive basis to help prevent foreclosures.
“Foreclosures are devastating to not only the affected homeowner, but the entire neighborhood and local economy. Cleveland-area homeowners, families, and neighbors facing foreclosure deserve a strong support network,” Brown said. “That’s why the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling service is so important to ending the foreclosure mill that plagues communities in Ohio and throughout the country. We should be finding ways to keep people in their homes, not gouging homeowners and forcing more houses onto an already depressed housing market.”
In 2010, there were 85,483 new foreclosure filings, according to Policy Matters Ohio’s recent “Home Insecurity” report; it was the first time in 15 years that Ohio did not have an increase in foreclosure filings over the previous year. The number of foreclosure filings would likely have continued to increase but for a temporary foreclosure suspension of new foreclosure filings by several of the largest servicers as a result of the so-called “robo-signing” scandal.
Brown recently introduced the Foreclosure Fraud and Homeowner Abuse Prevention Act of 2011, which would:
- Protect homeowners from servicer errors, miscommunications, and abusive fees.
- End the rush to foreclosure and require servicers to work with homeowners to find sustainable mortgages.
- Improve standards for staffing and casework by mortgage servicers.
- Protect the interests of investors who buy securities backed by residential mortgages.
- Reform oversight of pools of securitized mortgages.
The Foreclosure Fraud and Homeowner Abuse Prevention Act of 2011 is endorsed by the Alliance for a Just Society, the Center for Responsible Lending, Community Organizations in Action, the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA), the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), the Coalition on Homelessness & Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, and Columbus Housing Partnership (CHP). Click here for additional information on the bill.
Brown, chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, is a leading proponent of providing assistance to communities affected by the housing crisis and population loss. In July 2010, he sent a letter to the executives of the nation’s four largest banks calling on them to work with responsible homeowners to avoid foreclosure. Brown fought for the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the continuation of the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
In December 2007, Congress appropriated funds to create the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program to stem the foreclosure crisis in communities across the United States. NFMC seeks to increase access to housing counseling for families at risk of foreclosure.