Troubled homeowners seeking foreclosure assistance now have more resources available to them than ever before, according to the Center for American Progress (CAP)
In a report released in late June titled ""Now We're Talking-A Look at Current State-Based Foreclosure Mediation Programs and How to Bring Them to Scale,"" the Washington, D.C.-based think tank reveals that the number of jurisdictions with foreclosure mediation programs is double what it was a year ago, rising from only 11 to 21.
CAP notes that this a strong takeaway and the organization expects this number to keep on rising, saying that the ""list [will] to continue to grow as legislation already introduced in additional states becomes law. What's more, the promise and practicality of foreclosure mediation is garnering support nationwide, including that of the American Bar Association.""
However, despite the strides that have been taken in the past year to increase foreclosure mediation programs nationwide, CAP states that in order to make mediation truly accessible to the American homeowner, these services needs to go beyond the state level and reach the federal level.
CAP notes in its report that ""Required mediation prior to foreclosure is not yet a part of federal efforts to prevent unnecessary foreclosures, either within the suite of Making Home Affordable programs, or as part of loss mitigation efforts for federally backed mortgages.""
The report-which was compiled by Alon Cohen, SVP and general counsel of FightMetric LLC, and Andrew Jakabovics, associate director for housing and economics for the CAP-also outlines recommendations that CAP has to ensure the success of future state-run mediation programs. These guidelines include moving ""opt-in"" mediation programs (where the homeowner is required to ask for assistance to receive mediation) to ""automatically scheduled"" or mandatory mediations and expanding mediation assistance statewide in states that already have mature pilot programs.
According to CAP, some states which have already enacted automatic mediation programs-meaning that mediation is automatically scheduled when foreclosure is initiated either through notice of foreclosure sale in nonjudicial foreclosures or through the filing of foreclosure in judicial foreclosures---include California, Connecticut, and Florida. States such as these are seeing higher participation rates in their mediation programs, as CAP states that opt-in programs see participation rates below 25 percent, while automatic mediation programs have participation rates closer to 75 percent. From these rates, CAP has found that in automatic mediation programs 70 to 75 percent of cases end in a settlement, with 60 percent of homeowners reaching settlements that keep them in their homes.
To read the full study, click here.