Baton Rouge workshop set for homeowners facing foreclosure

Richard Bogren, Tucker, Jeanette A.  |  1/4/2011 1:14:34 AM

News Release Distributed 02/11/10

With the specter of increasing foreclosures looming over the Baton Rouge area as a result of the downturn in the economy, a group of local nonprofits and their community development partners are joining together to help keep people in their homes.

The Baton Rouge Foreclosure Prevention Task Force will conduct a workshop for residents concerned about foreclosure on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Delmont Service Center, 3535 Riley St. in Baton Rouge.

“There’s a lot of confusion out in the public about what to do if you’re behind on your mortgage or face a crushing increase in your monthly payments,” said Lauren Bartlett, staff attorney at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, a nonprofit organization providing legal assistance to low-income residents.

“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 foreclosure to know that the worst thing you can do is to ignore the calls and the notices,” she said. “There’s a whole team of experienced counselors and attorneys that are ready, willing and able to provide good counsel and help you through the maze of options that are available.”

The Homeownership Preservation Fair will include a general-information session that will discuss foreclosure-prevention resources and financial and legal options available to help homeowners prevent foreclosure. The workshop will include information on foreclosure-prevention rescue scams, fair housing laws and resources, and home ownership opportunities and resources.

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’re starting to see a rise in mortgage-rescue 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 homeowners know that there are many organizations that don’t charge up-front fees and have experience and training in resolving complicated foreclosure problems,” Montoya said. “That’s why the task force involved in helping to coordinate events like this that can help save somebody’s home.”

Agencies conducting the Housing Preservation Resource fair include Fannie Mae, Capital One Bank, Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance, City of Baton Rouge, LSU AgCenter, Urban Restoration Enhancement Corps, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Board, Southeast Legal Services, Southern University IDA Initiative and the Louisiana Housing Finance Authority.

Rick Bogren

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