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2008 Media Releases


Date:
February 21, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Michael Snodgrass, Executive Director 477-7181, msnodgrass@nwlincoln.org


NeighborWorks® Lincoln Urges Homeowners to Call for Help During National Home Ownership Month

NeighborWorks® Lincoln urges local homeowners at risk of foreclosure to take the first step to avoid losing their biggest investment – call for help. By calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or 477-7181, Lincoln homeowners can receive foreclosure counseling from agencies like Neighborworks® Lincoln, who are certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD).

With the help of a counselor, a homeowner can work with the lender to develop a reasonable action plan that will offer relief to the borrower. By calling 1-888-995-HOPE, homeowners can receive one-on-one counseling; assistance in bridging loans to help catch up after falling behind in payments; advice on refinance options; and information on rehabilitation loans for repairs and maintenance.

"We must do all we can to ensure home ownership is not built on quicksand. The earlier that financially distressed homeowners reach out for assistance, the more options they have to address their mortgage issues and potentially avoid foreclosure,” said Michael Snodgrass, Executive Director, NeighborWorks® Lincoln.

Industry studies show the foreclosure rate on mortgage loans has increased by more than 50 percent since 2000. "Foreclosures nationally reached a record high in 2007 and will increase by as much as two million nationally in 2008," said Steve Hermes, North Central District communications and public affairs representative for NeighborWorks® America. "The foreclosure problem is largely the result of some sub-prime lending practices and the unpreparedness of borrowers."

Property values steadily increased and interest rates held near historic lows the past few years. Hermes said that as buyers rushed into home ownership, many were tempted by inappropriate loan products that appeared to be low-cost. As interest rates have climbed nationwide, tens of thousands of homeowners have been shocked by monthly payment increases they now cannot afford. Many Lincoln families also face foreclosure as the result of a job loss, reduction in income or health emergency.

"Here in Lincoln, we saw about 1,000 home foreclosures last year. That’s twice the rate of foreclosures we saw only a couple of years ago," said Mayor Chris Beutler. "But our community is fortunate to have an organization like NeighborWorks® Lincoln that is ready and able to step in and help."

NeighborWorks® Lincoln is a non-profit, community-based housing organization dedicated to community revitalization through an active partnership of resident leaders, private businesses and public officials. More information is available at nwlincoln.org or by calling 477-7181.


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