Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Foreclosure Prevention Effort: 700 Homes and Counting

While the titans in DC and on Wall Street negotiate a bail-out package nearing $1 trillion (so far, the details are scarce, which scares me), we in Hamilton County and Cincinnati have managed to turn a very small investment into positive results on the housing and foreclosure front.

Over the last 18 months, the County and City have used federal grants to fund housing counseling/foreclosure prevention efforts across our community. These counselors sit down with troubled homeowners, walk them through the hurdles of the foreclosure process, and seek to refinance or negotiate terms with the lending institution (who more and more have an incentive to avoid the foreclosure).

In the first 18 months, this process has saved more than 700 homes from foreclosure. Since each foreclosure leads to a lost property value of $50,ooo-$60,000 to the surrounding community, the net savings in property value from these averted foreclosures is in the tens of millions of dollars.

Today, myself and Councilmember Jeff Berding, working with a number of local banks, launched a public awareness campaign to be sure people know about these services.

Often, the key step to avoiding foreclosure is simply to pick up the phone (call 211, the United Way number, and ask for a housing counselor). Too many homeowners don't respond at the first sign of trouble, digging a deeper hole and almost guaranteeing that the foreclosure will happen.

Unfortunately, foreclosure filing are continuing to happen at a record pace. But there is a local response, and dialing 211 connects citizens to the help they need right away.

UPDATE: The Enquirer's Peter Bronson did a nice write-up on our announcement: http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080925/COL05/809250309/1004/COL#pluckcomments

For more details on the campaign, go to http://www.factsforhomeowners.com/.

For a detailed report on foreclosures in our county, go to http://www.serve.com/winstaff/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/2007_foreclosure_report.pdf.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Pepper this is on another topic but I hope you can help. Someone told me about your blog. I work for the county. We are struggling with no raises and our health care costs going up more than double last year. Some of the people I work with make so little they need public assistance to help them get by. Now I hear health care costs are going up again. People who work for the county do so because of the benefits. They could make more money with private employers who pay a lot more. Well now there are no good benefits. We are paying more than some private employees when it comes to health insurance. People will not work at the county if this happens. The people who are good enough to go to private employers will and we will be stuck with those who are left. Then the county will be in trouble when it comes to helping people. I don't want this to happen. Can you help us? Can we get raises? Can we cut health care costs? Can you do something for us?

Know-Nothing Rich Boys said...

We wouldn't have any foreclosures if only we had Streetcars everywhere!

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