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Massachusetts' HomeCorps making a dent in foreclosure crisis

The director of the HomeCorps program says the program is a hit in that it has fielded almost 3,000 calls as of late April, opened 1,865 case files and prevented "dozens" of foreclosures since it began assisting distressed homeowners. The staff of six expects to triple in size due to the demand for mortgage help from Massachusetts homeowners.

As reported in a previous post, the HomeCorps program was launched a few months ago by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley with the express goal of preventing foreclosures. The program is funded through a multi-state settlement with five of the largest mortgage lending institutions in the country. Massachusetts received $44.5 million of the $25 billion settlement. In an interview, Ms. Coakley said she wants to ensure Massachusetts residents receive all the mortgage assistance due them from this settlement.

Other states included in the settlement have been criticized for diverting some of the settlement funds into other areas at the protest of housing advocates who want to hold the lenders accountable for fraudulent and error-prone foreclosure practices, such as "robo-signing". HomeCorps provides grant funding to legal services agencies, non-profits and municipalities in an effort to help delinquent borrowers prevent foreclosure as well as help neighborhoods blighted by the foreclosure crisis.

The HomeCorps hotline is 617-573-5333 and is ready to assist homeowners with information regarding mortgage relief, loan modifications, refinancing and principle reduction. The Attorney general said that by enlisting a 'middleman' of sorts who has the power to influence the state's top regulator to work with lenders on behalf of borrowers, we are able to prevent unnecessary foreclosures in the state. The idea is to use as much of the settlement money as possible to directly help those who need it most.

Understanding the various state and federal programs can be complicated for many individuals, and not everyone who needs help with their mortgage may qualify for some reason or another. If you are struggling with a mortgage lender for any reason, consulting with a residential real estate attorney can be a great resource for understanding what options are available to you to either prevent a foreclosure or qualify for loan modification or refinance program.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Massachusetts' HomeCorps program is on a mission to stop foreclosures," Jenifer B. McKim, June 1, 2012

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