(Source: By Superior Telegram, Wis.) - A free workshop to help prevent foreclosures takes place Friday at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College located at 600 N. 21st St. in Superior.
“The great thing about Friday’s event is from noon to 5 counselors will be available for distressed homeowners,” said Sandy Carlson, director of the housing counseling program for Catholic Community Services. Participants can discuss their situation and find what options are available to them. Lenders will also be available to suggest ways to alleviate delinquencies and to offer mortgage options.
When Carlson started working with the housing program 15 years ago, she served four clients a year. Today, staff receives an average of four calls a day and work directly with more than 100 clients a year. Carlson credits the economy — job loss, reduction in wages and the rising cost of food, gas and other necessities — for many of today’s foreclosures. Foreclosures in Douglas County have risen over the past 10 years. In 2000, there were 38. In 2010, that number rose to 128, according to court records. The main point of Friday’s workshop is to let homeowners know there are options available, including restructuring and refinancing loans.
“The sooner you look into them, the better off you are,” Carlson said.
The event is for all homeowners, both those facing foreclosure and those who find it a struggle to make monthly house payments.
“We can look at ways to alleviate some of the burden folks are feeling in regard to their house payment,” Carlson said.
The foreclosure process can be frustrating, long and drawn-out, she said. Often people feel like throwing their hands up and walking away. They don’t have to.
“There are options,” Carlson said.
Homeowners with internet access can look through some of those options online at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/ — from lowering monthly payments and reducing the amount owed to refinancing at today’s lower rates. Or they can stop by the Friday event and talk to someone.
Professionals in the housing industry also can attend and receive free training that’s accredited for Minnesota realtors.
The event is a collaborative effort between the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and various community and social service organizations, state and federal agencies and lending institutions.
“With local foreclosures continuing, and mortgage ‘rescue’ scams on the rise, more and more homeowners are looking for legitimate assistance and additional resources to help them avoid losing their homes,” Jim Chaplin, HUD’s field office director in Wisconsin, said in a statement.
Participants will receive help on a first come, first served basis. For more information or to jump-start the process of getting free, professional assistance call Catholic Community Services at (715) 394-6617, Sheila Ashley at HUD’s Milwaukee field office at (414) 935-6603 or Anita Olson at HUD’s Minneapolis field office at (612) 370-3000, ext. 2289.
©2012 the Superior Telegram (Superior, Wis.)
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