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2007-06-27 12:08:00

Ad Council Launches Foreclosure Prevention Awareness Campaign

NeighborWorks® America, one of the nation’s largest housing and community development organizations, announced a new public awareness campaign today with the Ad Council aimed at preventing home foreclosure that urges homeowners in financial trouble to call 888-995-HOPE. The Homeowner’s HOPE hotline, provided by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, is the cornerstone of a foreclosure prevention effort involving many of the country’s largest mortgage market companies. The public awareness campaign strives to reduce the number of homes entering the foreclosure process, which is expected to exceed one million households in 2007.

Given that each foreclosure costs $30,000 or more, the total cost to the housing finance system of one million foreclosures could approach $30 billion.

The Neighborhood Impact from Foreclosure

Importantly, research highlighted today by NeighborWorks America shows that homes that are not directly foreclosed upon can also be affected by foreclosure. Research showed that homes that are close to those that were foreclosed upon lose nearly one percent of their value for each foreclosed property within an eighth of a mile. For hard-hit neighborhoods around the country where dozens of homes within blocks of each other have been foreclosed upon, neighboring homeowners can expect their home values to drop by 10 percent or more.
The public awareness campaign by NeighborWorks America and the Ad Council is aimed at preventing this devastating outcome.

“The campaign that we launch today with the Ad Council is vitally important to maintaining the gains that have been achieved in homeownership,” said NeighborWorks America CEO Ken Wade. “Earlier this month, the Mortgage Bankers Assn., a campaign supporter, released new residential mortgage foreclosure statistics that show the problem of foreclosure is increasing. Families are under stress from a variety of complicated sources — high mortgage costs from adjustable rate and subprime mortgages, weak local economies, personal factors such as illness, or divorce and more — but the action every homeowner at risk of foreclosure needs to take is simple: Call the Homeowner’s HOPE hotline and begin the conversation to work out the problem and avoid foreclosure.”

“We are thrilled to partner with NeighborWorks America on this critical issue of home foreclosures because we recognize the devastating effect foreclosure can have on a family,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are confident that these new PSAs will resonate with homeowners struggling with their mortgages and encourage them to contact the hotline to learn what they can do.”

“We're currently hearing from more than 500 callers each day,” said the Homeownership Preservation Foundation President and Executive Director Colleen Hernandez. “Homeowners are facing foreclosure at record rates. This issue reaches into every social and economic demographic out there and homeowners facing delinquency need to remember that they're not alone. Even if you're currently not having problems paying your mortgage, chances are you know a friend, family member, co-worker or acquaintance that may be. We want to get the message out there — call 888-995-HOPE for help.”

“We know from research conducted by Freddie Mac, one of the early supporters of our effort, that half of families who enter into foreclosure never call their lender for help,” said Wade. “That’s the wrong thing to do. When a home is foreclosed, everyone loses — the family, the community, and the lender.”

The television and radio public service announcements shown at the campaign launch today are expected to begin airing in early July. Print and Internet-targeted spots will follow. The public service announcements, and more information about the campaign, are available on the campaign’s web site, www.ForeclosureHelpandHope.org.

NeighborWorks Foreclosure Prevention Efforts to Date

A key element of the NeighborWorks America fight against foreclosure is its signature program, the NeighborWorks Center for Foreclosure Solutions (CFS), created to preserve homeownership in the face of rising foreclosure rates. In conjunction with national nonprofit, mortgage and insurance partners, the CFS builds capacity among foreclosure counselors around the nation, conducts public outreach campaigns to reach financially distressed homeowners, and researches local and national trends to develop strategic solutions. In cities and states with high rates of foreclosure, the CFS works with local leaders to create sustainable foreclosure intervention programs.

CFS already has launched statewide foreclosure prevention initiatives in Ohio, Georgia and Delaware and local initiatives in Baltimore and St. Louis. The CFS plans to start dozens more local and state initiatives and to leverage the influence of the Ad Council campaign to encourage more families to call their lender or local NeighborWorks organization for help avoiding foreclosure. The current campaigns have helped increase the number of callers to the 888-995-HOPE hotline from approximately 700 per month in July 2006 to nearly 15,000 per month in June 2007.

Over 190 local nonprofits and municipalities have joined the national ad campaign to promote foreclosure counseling in their communities.

About NeighborWorks America

NeighborWorks America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. To date, we have assisted nearly 850,000 low- to moderate-income families with their housing needs. Much of our success is achieved through our support of the NeighborWorks network ? more than 235 community development organizations working in 4,400 urban, suburban and rural communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In the last five years, NeighborWorks® organizations have generated more than $12.4 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals. www.nw.org.

The Advertising Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action, and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org.

About the Homeownership Preservation Foundation

Founded in 2004, The Homeownership Preservation Foundation is a Minneapolis-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to reducing foreclosures and preserving homeownership for American homeowners. The Foundation partners with city, county and state governments; federal government agencies; community-based non-profit organizations; and mortgage companies to offer creative solutions to preserve homeownership. HPF’s cornerstone service is the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline, a foreclosure prevention counseling service available free to American homeowners by calling 888-995-HOPE. For more information about the Homeownership Preservation Foundation or the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline, please visit www.995hope.org.

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