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Housing Solutions program helps homeowners facing default, foreclosure

By Elizabeth Salkind
Special to The SUN

Housing Solutions for the Southwest will hold a free presentation Thursday, July 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the Ruby Sisson Library meeting room in Pagosa Springs, to inform the public about new programs for homeowners who are facing mortgage default or foreclosure.

Housing Solutions is a non-profit HUD certified housing counseling agency, as well as a member of the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline and the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. The organization help find the best solutions for various situations, including working through the submission of a loan modification, information on short sales, refinancing options and many other solutions. No R.S.V.P. is needed for the presentation.

Programs for mortgage loan modifications have been revamped to allow more options. Modifications restructure mortgages, lowering monthly payments and interest rates, making payments affordable and bringing delinquent mortgages current. The tools that are available in the program have now been greatly expanded. Homeowners turned down or not eligible in the past may now qualify. During the session, we will provide information about two new loan programs offered through the State of Colorado. One of these programs, the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program, provides assistance to eligible homeowners who have fallen behind on their payments, but are able to afford their monthly mortgage payment.

While the initial foreclosure programs have helped more than 6 million families avoid foreclosure, there have been many families that were turned down because of stringent requirements combined with a difficult, and often cumbersome, approval process. Nationally, 80 percent of individuals who applied for modification in the initial program, without the assistance of a HUD certified housing counselor, were denied. Conversely, 80 percent of those who worked with Housing Solutions in the last three years were approved.

“Many clients have come to our agency after many months of frustration seeking a modification — sending in documents repeatedly, banks failing to return phone calls or providing conflicting information, etc.” explained Housing Solutions programs director Tami Miller. Housing Solutions acts as the advocate for homeowners in this process at no charge. Housing Solutions counselors have received extensive training and have assisted approximately 500 clients in the last four years.

Miller is concerned that mortgage modification programs are underutilized, with only 8,000 of the approximately 50,000 Colorado families in default or foreclosure seeking HUD certified housing counseling assistance that is free of charge. Housing Solutions estimates that there are 1,000 households in southwest Colorado that may be eligible to apply for these programs. Come to the free presentation Thursday to get details, or contact Housing Solutions to set an appointment to review your individual situation.

Housing Solutions: Housing Solutions is a non-profit organization that has been helping residents of southwest Colorado with housing challenges for 31 years. Housing Solutions operates multiple programs to help those in need. Programs include emergency homeless prevention, rental and utility assistance, transitional housing, home rehabilitation and repair, emergency heating repair and replacement and housing counseling in the areas of foreclosure prevention, reverse mortgages, pre-purchase, and services for the homeless. Housing Solutions has helped more than 20,000 individuals and families in the five county area of southwest Colorado.

For more information about Housing Solutions, contact executive director Elizabeth Salkind at 259-1086, Ext. 32, or esalkind@swhousingsolutions.com.

This story was posted on July 8, 2013.