Tuesday, August 16, 2011

FREE Mortgage Relief Fair Set for the Westbank of New Orleans

A group of local nonprofits and community development partners have joined together to help address the needs of homeowners in the greater New Orleans area, with a focus on those who have been affected by the oil spill and may be behind on their mortgage payments or are facing foreclosure.

The Greater New Orleans Homeownership Preservation Coalition is hosting a Homeownership Preservation Fair on Saturday, August 27, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. While the event is targeted to homeowners on the Westbank, any Louisiana resident can attend and the event is FREE. The event will be held at Delgado Community College, Westbank Campus, Building 1, Room 130, 2600 General Meyer Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana.

"There's a lot of confusion out in the public about what to do if you're looking at getting behind on your mortgage because of a loss of income. Many people may not know that there is a great deal of free help out there for people who live in oil spill impacted areas," said Lauren Bartlett, staff attorney at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, a nonprofit organization providing legal assistance to low-income residents and a coalition partner.

"People are scared of losing their biggest investment - the roof over their head - and don't know where to turn for help or advice," Bartlett said. "Maybe they've had bad experiences with their lender or servicer and are feeling hopeless about a resolution. We want people who are facing mortgage delinquency or foreclosure to know there's a whole team of experienced counselors and attorneys that are ready, willing and able to provide assistance and help you through the maze of options that are available."

The Homeownership Preservation Fair on August 27th will include a general-information session that will discuss foreclosure-prevention resources, as well as financial and legal options available to help homeowners prevent foreclosure. These include details on loan modifications and other options available for those people that are impacted by the oil spill. The workshop will also include information on foreclosure-prevention rescue scams and fair housing laws, as well as budget and credit counseling for those who might need these services.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved agencies specially qualified to offer one-on-one individual counseling will provide assistance at no cost to the homeowner, organizers said.

"We've seen a rise in mortgage-rescue and BP claims-related scams in our communities," said Nancy Montoya, community affairs manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and a coalition partner.

"It's important that residents know that there are many organizations that don't charge up-front fees and have experience and training in resolving complicated foreclosure and consumer credit problems," Montoya said. "That's why we're involved with the coalition to help coordinate events like this that can help save somebody's home and help them manage their resources during difficult times."

Agencies conducting the Homeownership Preservation Fair include Fannie Mae, LSU AgCenter, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Money Management International, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, and Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans.

For more information or to find a non-profit counselor in your area please call (504) 529-1000 Ext. 280.

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