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NeighborWorks-Run Program Counsels over 1M Distressed Homeowners

More than one million homeowners facing foreclosure have received counseling through the congressionally-funded ""National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling"":http://www.nw.org/nfmc (NFMC) program since its launch in January 2008.


NFMC is run by ""NeighborWorks America"":http://www.nw.org, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization responsible for administering the $475 million in federal funding that has been appropriated for the program over the last two and half years to support local community-based efforts to help distressed homeowners stave off foreclosure, at no expense to the borrower.

At a time when still-rising foreclosures continue to depress the housing market and the national unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, NeighborWorks says foreclosure intervention counseling, such as is provided through the NFMC program, is more critical than ever.

Ken Wade, CEO of NeighborWorks America, says that while more than 1 million homeowners have received foreclosure prevention counseling thanks to the foresight of Congress and the hard work of more than 1,700


NFMC-funded counseling organizations, an additional 4 million homeowners are expected to face foreclosure in 2010.

According to a recent NFMC report, 58 percent of homeowners facing foreclosure report the primary reason as job loss and reduced income. The main foreclosure triggers may have changed since the onset of the housing crisis, when homeowners primarily faced foreclosure because of interest rate hikes and payment increases, but Wade says the result is still the same: foreclosures are hurting homeowners and communities nationwide.

Rep. John Olver (D-Massachusetts), chairman of the House subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, says he is pushing for another $113 million to be made available for the NFMC program through fiscal year 2011 appropriations.

""Data has shown that counseled homeowners were approximately 1.6 times less likely to face a foreclosure completion than those who had not benefited from the NFMC program,"" Olver said. ""By funding and supporting the NFMC, fewer families will find themselves facing removal from their homes and will gain knowledge of how to move forward financially.""

According to an independent evaluation of the NFMC program by the ""Urban Institute"":http://www.urban.org, homeowners who received counseling through the program were 60 percent more likely to avoid losing their home to foreclosure than homeowners who do not seek counseling. In addition, NFMC program clients were more likely to receive a loan modification, and on average, saved $454 more on their monthly mortgage payments per month, than homeowners who received modifications but did not work with a counselor.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.

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