To be honest, many of these government programs are not as helpful as they were meant to be. Some only consider people in a very narrow set of circumstances. Some are narrow in focus. Some are overwhelmed and consequently slow to respond.
You should make some phone calls or spend some time on the internet searching for government help before you decide on any of the other options in this guide. But we do not want to mislead you and make you think everything will be perfectly fine if you use them.
Politicians like to write laws that sound good, but when you look at the details they don’t really help large groups of people.
Sorry if we sound cynical, but we do not want to see people letting their personal financial crisis get worse and worse while waiting on a new law to rescue them. You just cannot count on it. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
Not to sound like a broken record, but you really should get a free consultation with our office before deciding on any one course of action. Since it is free, you have nothing to lose in making sure you know all of your legal options to avoid a foreclosure, or stop one if it is started.
Below is a list of some of those organizations you can contact for help.
- The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) offers the HOPE initiative (Home Owners Preserving Equity) as well as the Bridge to Hope program intended to help homeowners with FREE housing counseling and possible help with catch up mortgage payments. Call 877-462-7555 or go to: dhcd.state.md.us/Hope or try mdhope.org or www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has created “Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure,” which provides an index of broad information on foreclosure assistance at hud.gov/foreclosure.
- HUD supports approved home mortgage counseling for families at risk of losing their homes. Please use HUD Housing Counseling Program’s toll free number 800-569-4287 or go to hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/fc/
- If you have a loan with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be eligible for loan modification or refinancing under the new Obama program through the U.S. Treasury and HUD. Go to: gov
- The Federal Trade Commission has info about avoiding foreclosure: ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes
- If you have a loan with FHA, you may be eligible for loan modification or refinancing under the HOPE for Homeowners program, effective until 9/30/2011. Call 800-CALL-FHA (800-225-5342) or see their website.
- Operation HOPE has created the Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline at 800-592-4673 to give information and guidance to families including how to: negotiate with your lender; apply for a loan modification; avoid foreclosure; sell a house or purchase an affordable home; re-structure existing debt and obligations; and, refinancing your home.
- The NeighborWorks Center for Foreclosure Solutions was created to preserve homeownership in the face of rising foreclosure rates. The Center has built a network among certified foreclosure counselors around the nation. Call 888-995-HOPE. For more information visit 995HOPE.org or go to www.nwconsumer.org/foreclosure help.html
- The Coalition for Homeownership Preservation in Prince George’s County was formed to strengthen homeowner assets and neighborhood stability in Prince George’s County by homeowner counseling and loss mitigation workshops. Contact Lloyd Baskins at 301-883-HOME (301-883-4663).
- HOPE NOW is an alliance between counselors, mortgage companies, investors, and other mortgage market participants who want to reach and help distressed homeowners directly (hopenow.com).
- Consumer Credit Counseling Service of MD & DE, Inc., an accredited non-profit community service organization, has been serving the community since 1966. CCCS provides confidential budget counseling, debt management repayment programs, and community education. Call 866-731-8486 or go to: cccs-inc.org.
There may be more available. New groups and programs are popping up all the time. We hope you and find some help through one of these organizations.