Amid rising foreclosure rate, some homeowners have success stories
Published: February 24, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Even as the latest statistics show house foreclosures rising again, not all households in a financial bind with a mortgage lose their home -- or their shirt. Some believe the upward trend in foreclosures is a case of banks finally acting on long-abandoned properties, but without the front-page attention the first tsunami of foreclosures brought in 2008, or the "robo-signing" scandals that started in 2010, whereby lenders speedily processed huge numbers of foreclosures often using false information. The top five states with the highest number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in January were California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Georgia, according to RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosure, auction and bank-owned homes nationally. Nevada has the highest rate of foreclosures, at one in every 198 homes. North Dakota has the lowest, one in every 63,500 homes. But there are more good-news stories emerging from the debris of the housing debacle, thanks to the relentless efforts of counselors who advocate on behalf of homeowners, getting them more favorable terms as their financial fortunes staggered along with that of the U.S. economy. "The housing market is dysfunctional and it does nothing to help our most vulnerable," said Sean Wendlinder, a grants specialist for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, during a Feb. 14 program at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington. Wendlinder cited the number of families who are "doubling up" in housing, the stress on families and marriages facing the threat of housing foreclosure, and the reduced academic performance of schoolchildren whose parents are wrapped up in trying to save their house. Jeanne Reitz Fekade-Sellassie, a former CCHD staffer who now works in the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program for NeighborWorks America, pointed to studies that show that homeowners who get counseling when they face foreclosure are likelier to keep their house -- and that the more counseling they get, the more likely they are to prevent foreclosure.
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