QUINCY, MA – March 30, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — 2011¡XSouth Shore residents in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure will soon have access to expanded foreclosure prevention counseling services through a joint initiative sponsored by the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, Neighborhood Housing Services of the South Shore and the South Shore HOME Consortium.
Through the initiative ¡V announced today at a joint press conference held at Quincy City Hall ¡V Neighborhood Housing Services of the South Shore will offer three, free foreclosure prevention counseling workshops to residents of the cities and towns participating in the South Shore HOME Consortium, which includes Quincy, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton and Holbrook. Scheduled workshops include:
Quincy: Thursday April 28, 5 to 9 p.m., Quincy City Hall second floor conference room
Weymouth: Thursday May 12, 5 to 9 p.m., Whipple Senior Center, John F. McCulloch building
Braintree: Wednesday June 8, 5 to 9 p.m., Braintree Town Hall auditorium
Those who attend the workshops will have an opportunity to meet with Neighborhood Housing Services¡¦ counselors, who will review each participant¡¦s housing issues and develop a plan to mediate with the lender or loan servicer to best solve the homeowner¡¦s foreclosure issues.
To help raise awareness of the free sessions, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds will provide Neighborhood Housing Services of the South Shore with the Notice to Foreclose so that NHS may distribute information regarding the foreclosure prevention workshops to those individuals.
“This is a stressful and difficult time for the homeowner, and many times they are afraid to ask for help or do not know where to turn for assistance,¡ü said Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O¡¦Donnell. ¢wIn collaborating with Neighborhood Housing Services and the South Shore HOME Consortium, we hope that we can help them reach out to people who would benefit from Neighborhood Housing¡¦s foreclosure prevention services.¡ü
Rep. Keating expressed his support for the HOME program, a federal block grant that enables local and state governments to partner with non-profits to provide a wide range of affordable housing activities.
“What¡¦s great about the HOME program is that it¡¦s not one-size-fits-all,¡ü Rep. Keating said. ¢wBy providing federal funds to local initiatives, such as the foreclosure workshops being announced today, HOME not only educates and empowers homeowners, it also allows municipal governments and non-profits to tailor programs to address their communities¡¦ needs. Foreclosures are a very real reality for many residents on the South Shore and I believe these workshops will help to stave them off. The HOME Program is a great example of how government should work for its people.¡ü
The City of Quincy¡¦s Department of Planning and Community Development is the lead agency of the South Shore HOME Consortium.
“Over 500 households were assisted through the South Shore HOME Consortium in the past five years alone,¡ü said Dennis E. Harrington, planning director for the City of Quincy. ¢wWe are very proud of our accomplishments with respect to affordable housing activities, and we look forward to being a partner in this vital foreclosure prevention program as well.¡ü
Over the past five years, South Shore HOME Consortium funds in the amount of $5,355,892 were provided for housing activities, including:
– 92 units of affordable housing were created;
– 71 households received assistance in purchasing their first home;
– 399 homeowners received rehab assistance
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch ¡V who was joined by Braintree Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan, Weymouth Mayor Sue Kay and representatives from the towns of Holbrook and Milton ¡V praised the cooperative approach to the regional foreclosure crisis.
“Wherever possible, the City of Quincy has attempted to work collaboratively with other cities and towns to develop regional solutions to regional problems,¡ü Koch said. ¢wBy partnering with non-profits like Neighborhood Housing Services and with the assistance of the Registry of Deeds and its ability to provide Neighborhood Housing Services with the Notice to Foreclosure information, NHS can help struggling families arrange loan modifications and possibly prevent them from losing their homes.¡ü
Weymouth Mayor Sue Kay added, ¢wThe economy is impacting the ability of many residents of all of our local communities to meet their housing costs. Weymouth is very supportive of this pro-active effort to help homeowners facing foreclosure and to provide assistance to residents to help them through this crisis.¡ü
Robert Corley, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of the South Shore, noted that the South Shore has been particularly hard hit by the foreclosure crisis. Between May and October of 2010, there were 168 foreclosure petitions filed in Quincy ¡V up from 43 during the same period in 2009. Weymouth had 157 petitions, compared with 48 during the previous year. That increase in local foreclosure petitions has continued into 2011, Corley said.
“The continued wave of foreclosures has impacted hundreds of local families while also hurting the local tax base, putting more of a burden on already strapped city budgets,¡ü Corley said. ¢wKeeping working people in their homes is not only good for their individual families, but also for the community as a whole.¡ü
Corley stressed that the free foreclosure counseling services are open to homeowners of any income level who are struggling to make their mortgage payments, such as a family where one spouse may have lost a job, had their hours cut or has had to take a pay cut.
“They just need a little relief until they can get reemployed so they won¡¦t lose their homes,¡ü Corley said. ¢wThe important message is homeowners don¡¦t have to wait until they¡¦ve received a foreclosure petition to come get help. If they come to us early on, Neighborhood Housing¡¦s counselors can try to arrange a loan modification and payment plan that can help preserve their financial stability and prevent foreclosure.¡ü
For more information on Neighborhood Housing Services¡¦ foreclosure prevention workshops, visit www.neighborhoodhousing.org.
McCauley Logue Communications
jennifer (at) mccauleylogue (dot) com