I had a conversation with a banker recently at the National Urban League Coalition’s annual conference held here in Philadelphia.
Though he was from Texas, our conversation revolved around familiar issues faced by homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure by modifying a mortgage to better fit their ability to keep up payments.
Despite several initiatives (both government and private) to assist in that process, the failure rate of those who have done the modifications and gotten new payment plans hovers around 49-percent across the country, said the banker.
In other words, even with reduced monthly payments and specialized plans, about half of those people still can’t stay current with their mortgage and wind up defaulting anyway.
Not a good figure.
To add insult to injury, there are a number of scam artists waiting to pounce on unsuspecting homeowners with promises of help and charge thousands of dollars for something the homeowner could have done themselves, or gotten the same help for free.
One reason for such a high failure rate is that even with modifications many still can’t make the payments because the original mortgage was far beyond their means in the first place.
Also, the volume and complexity of the paperwork involved can be more than when the homeowner first bought the house.
Still, there are a number of organizations and programs that can assist those facing foreclosure, as well as those struggling against all odds to keep pace with monthly payments.
The National Urban League, for example, has a program called Restore our Homes that helps individuals according to their specific needs as it relates to avoiding foreclosure.
Not everyone has the same problems and the program offers a number of services designed to meet you at your level of difficulty.
It is just one of several programs that homeowners can take advantage of as opposed to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous so-called “counselors” trying to make a few dollars off of someone else’s misery.
The concept of “home” is still embedded in the American psyche as a place worth the struggle to have, maintain, and turn as much into a refuge from the rest of the world as possible.
As the Sheriff of this great city, it is my sworn duty to not only execute the orders of the court when it comes to the selling of homes, it is also my responsibility to ensure the sanctity of homes by denying illegal evictions and doing educational outreach to help people keep their homes.
With that in mind, I encourage you to seek help with any problems you are having with paying your mortgage and take advantage of the opportunities available to assist you.