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Worcester group proposes mandatory foreclosure mediation

Many individuals experience a sense of personal pride when they buy and then live in their own homes. However, residential real estate in Worcester has been hit hard by the national foreclosure situation and foreclosure has thrown many homeowners into financial insecurity. When mortgage payments become unmanageable and homeowners are uncertain of what to do, foreclosure can be the ultimate result.

A local organization has gotten the attention of the Worcester city manager with its plan to require mediation for homeowners facing real estate foreclosure. The Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team, which last October proposed a local ordinance that would require mortgage lenders to mediate with homeowners prior to engaging in foreclosure, will attempt to persuade City Manager Michael O'Brien to keep such mediation efforts at the city level.

O'Brien has stated that while Worcester does not have the resources to support a mediation plan, a statewide bill that would implement a similar plan is a more likely possibility. Advocates for the Worcester ordinance claim that a state bill may take two years to pass and become effective, which will leave many homeowners struggling with foreclosure while they wait for the plan to start. The local initiative has garnered some support from other Worcester city council members.

While either a local or statewide mediation initiative may offer relief to Worcester homeowners in the future, those individuals who presently are unable to make their mortgage payments may need to explore existing legal options to keep their homes. Borrowers may consider reaching out to their lenders to renegotiate their payments or may seek out loan counseling from government or other nonprofit organizations. Support options do exist for individuals facing the emotional process of home foreclosure.

Source: Telegram News, "Group urges Worcester to require mediation in some home foreclosures," Nick Kotsopoulos, April 3, 2013

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