Free Workshop Will Provide Counseling Sessions for Residents Facing Foreclosure or Bankruptcy Due to Job Loss
DURHAM, N.C. – September 10, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Durham residents and small business owners facing foreclosure or bankruptcy due to job loss and the current economic crisis can now seek specialized assistance to save their homes and their businesses thanks to a City of Durham-sponsored workshop next week.
The City’s Foreclosure Prevention Workshop for Unemployed Residents and Small Business Owners is scheduled for Thursday, September 17, 2009, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Herald-Sun, located at 2828 Pickett Road, Durham.
This free workshop will provide counseling sessions for foreclosure prevention, intervention, and loss mitigation counseling. Bankruptcy attorneys will also be available as well as information about the N.C. Home Protection Program & Loan Fund and how workshop attendees may qualify to seek a state-funded, interest free loan to save their homes or maintain their mortgage payments while retraining for a new job. New for this session, the Durham JobLink Mobile Unit will also be on-site to assist attendees that are seeking employment.
A presentation on the Home Protection Program will be provided at this workshop by Triangle Family Services, Inc., one of the housing agencies in the state that has partnered with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to help families in financial crisis. According to Harriett Reynolds, home protection counselor and loan officer for Consumer Credit Counseling Services with Triangle Family Services, Inc., the Home Protection Program is designed specifically for individuals who have lost their job due to changing economic conditions. “If someone has been laid off due to downsizing, company closing, lack of work, or a documented 50 percent reduction in income, which includes the self-employed, there is help available to seek a state-funded, interest free loan to save their homes or maintain their mortgage payments while retraining for a new job,” Reynolds said. “Our agency has assisted many clients in applying for and being approved for a Home Protection Program loan, which has allowed them to stay in the home they have worked so hard to maintain.”
According to Reynolds, attendees at next week’s workshop will also learn about long-term assistance while they attend school or a formal training program. “Many of our clients have received up to 24 months of assistance with their mortgage, home owner’s insurance, taxes, and home owner’s association dues,” Reynolds said. “The long term assistance is a win-win for people because they not only have their mortgage taken care of, they now have the opportunity to enhance their skill set by attending school and obtaining an associate’s degree or certification in a chosen field. Getting a degree or certification will ultimately increase the likelihood of them finding employment and resume making their mortgage payments.”
In addition to learning more about the Home Protection Program, participants will also receive information on how they may be able to work out repayment plans and loan modifications with their mortgage lender or servicer thanks to the Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009 (CEPA – Senate Bill 974). CEPA requires lenders to explain in detail their efforts to resolve delinquent home loans without resorting to foreclosure. Among other things, it empowers the Clerk of Court presiding over a foreclosure hearing to ask what steps have been taken to prevent foreclosure and to continue the hearing for up to 60 days to allow homeowners and lenders more time to negotiate a solution; standardizes the amount of bond required at one percent of the balance due on the loan; and protects consumers from unfair debt collection practices by debt buyers who must now prove that they have the right to enforce the debt and be able to verify the amount owed.
Pre-registration for this workshop is required. Interested participants should pre-register by calling (919) 560-1647, ext. 34266 or online at www.durhamnc.gov/departments/nis/foreclosure_workshop.cfm. Pre-registered participants are also encouraged to bring multiple documents to this workshop, such as a deed of trust, correspondence from their mortgage company, and more. The complete checklist can be found on the City’s Web site at www.durhamnc.gov/departments/nis/pdf/foreclosure_checklist.pdf.
This workshop is sponsored by City of Durham Departments of Neighborhood Improvement Services, Community Development, and Office of Economic & Workforce Development; Durham JobLink Career Center; Triangle Family Services, Inc.; North Carolina Housing Finance Agency; SunTrust; Triangle East Chapter of 100 Black Men; National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys; Durham Regional Community Development Group; Neighborhood Pride Alliance; John T. Orcutt, P.C.; and the State Employees Credit Union.
For more information about this workshop, contact Cynthia Mebane-Watts, community relations coordinator with the City’s Department of Neighborhood Improvement Services, at (919) 560-1647, extension 34265 or via e-mail at cynthia.mebane-watts (at) durhamnc (dot) gov.