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2007-05-31 21:57:00

Ohio Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Call HOPE Hotline

Columbus, OH – One year after the launch of the NeighborWorks Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Initiative, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation reports over 7,000 calls to the 1-888-995-HOPE hotline in Ohio. Over 3,000 of those Ohio homeowners completed counseling with hotline counselors and over 500 were referred for additional one-on-one counseling and assistance from 12 local homeownership counseling organizations across the state.

With the rising number of Ohioans facing the potential loss of their homes due to foreclosure, NeighborWorks America launched the first statewide foreclosure prevention hotline in Ohio in April 2006. NeighborWorks teamed up with Ohio organizations in the NeighborWorks network, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation and 17 major mortgage lending institutions to provide resources to help homeowners facing foreclosure get assistance when they need it.

“Calls from Ohio have been steady with more than 400 calls every month last year and over 600 per month in 2007,” says Dean Caldwell-Tautges with the Homeownership Preservation Foundation.

Through HUD-certified counseling agencies, the 1-888-995-HOPE hotline has provided counseling to more than 20,000 homeowners nationwide over the past two years. Ohio accounted for 19%  of the callers in 2006. Sixty-five percent of those counseled in Ohio had already missed two mortgage payments. Nineteen percent of Ohio callers were referred to a local homeownership advocate, 22% received a recommendation for a loan workout/repayment plan with their lender, 12% were advised to list their home for sale and 36% need more counseling before a resolution was possible.

“The number referred to a local homeownership organization (19%) is higher in Ohio than the national average at 13% due to the strong NeighborWorks network and their continuous involvement,” said Caldwell-Tautges. “The number of homeowners advised to sell (12%) is lower than the national average at 17%, due in part to the cool housing market and the availability of rescue funds through the NeighborWorks network.”

The hotline provides counseling services free of charge and is available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. Homeowners who call receive advice, counseling, resources and assistance that helps them prioritize their needs and sets them into action to avoid foreclosure.

“We are providing crucial one-on-one counseling and services that enable people in Ohio to find a way to avoid foreclosures on their home mortgages. Foreclosures in Ohio and our county are at crisis levels. This program is helping people keep their homes and helping our entire community avoid the harsh consequences and costs associated with foreclosures,” said Paul Poston, NeighborWorks director for the Great Lakes district.

A profile of a typical household counseled through the hotline nationally is three family members with an income of $50,000 or less. Around 41% of callers nationally have a fixed-rate loan product, and 43% have an adjustable rate or interest only loan. In Ohio 44% of callers have fixed rate loans and 40% have adjustable rate products, while 16% of homeowners reported that they were not sure of their loan type when they first called.

The largest concentration of calls in Ohio came from the 330 area code, at 23%, up from 8% last year. This is followed by 18% of calls from area code 614, up from 15% last year. Area code 937 follows at 16%, down from 22% last year. Area code 216 is at 8%, up from 5% last year.

The NeighborWorks Center for Foreclosure Solutions, a special initiative of NeighborWorks America focused on homeownership preservation, is providing training, support and technical assistance to the 12 local community groups in Ohio so that they may have a significant impact on foreclosures throughout the state. Twenty-two partners, including 17 major mortgage lending institutions support the work of the NeighborWorks Center for Foreclosure Solutions.

Last year alone, over one million households in the U.S. entered foreclosure and the foreclosure rate on total mortgage loans is expected to grow significantly this year.

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.

About the Homeownership Preservation Foundation

The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) is a Minneapolis-based 501(c)(3)
nonprofit dedicated to reducing foreclosures and preserving homeownership for American homeowners. The Foundation was formed in September 2004 with a $20 million seed contribution from GMAC ResCap (Residential Capital, LLC), one of the nation’s largest real estate finance companies. 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, with assistance from its partners, provides the 888-995-HOPE Hotline. For more information about the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, please visit http://www.hpfonline.org.

The 12 participating organizations in Ohio are: Columbus Housing Partnership; East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation; Neighborhood Conservation Services of Barberton, Inc.; Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati; Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland; St. Mary Development Corporation; Neighborhood Housing Services of Toledo, Inc.; Neighborhood Housing Services of Hamilton, Inc.; Neighborhood Development Services; Rural Opportunities, Inc. Ohio; Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development; and Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield

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