Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Fact Sheet Now Available

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center, working with our partners at the Volunteer Lawyers Network and the Housing Preservation Project, has just released a new Fact Sheet with answers to frequently asked questions about the issue of bankruptcy and foreclosure.

The fact sheet, available here, answers such questions as:
  • What happens to my mortgage in bankruptcy?
  • What happens if I file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and default on my mortgage payments?
  • Can I convert a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to a Chapter 13?

These, and several other questions, are answered in the new fact sheet.

In addition... the Center is continuing to work on a fact sheet that answers questions about the complications that arise when homeowners declare bankruptcy but still need loan modifications.  Stay tuned!   

Did you know that the Center now has over a dozen Fact Sheets that can help struggling homeowners answer questions about their mortgage and foreclosure?  A complete list of Fact Sheets is here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Home Stretch Network Continues to Grow!

Home Stretch is Minnesota's premier program for first-time homebuyers that simplifies the home buying process and prepares first-time home buyers for the important choices related to home ownership.

The MN Home Ownership Center is pleased to announce the following additions/expansions to the Home Stretch network:

  • Three Rivers Community Action was added to the network through the HECAT process for the 2009-2010 year. Three Rivers Community Action serves Southwest and South Central Minnesota. They will be providing workshops and counseling with a focus on the Spanish-speaking community.

  • Build Wealth Minnesota was also added to the network through the HECAT process. Build Wealth is a nonprofit working in North Minneapolis. They will be providing pre-purchase counseling.

  • 1st Home Network was approved as a new provider through the an application submitted to the Center's Program Committee. 1st Home Network is a nonprofit working in St. Paul with an emphasis on serving African Americans. They will be providing Home Stretch workshops starting in January 2010.

  • American Dream Services was approved to expand their Home Stretch workshops to the Northfield area starting in January 2010.
Interested in learning more about Home Stretch?  Click Here.

Thinking about buying your first home?  Think Home Stretch FIRST!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Financial Help For Homeowners Displaced By Foreclosure

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center is pleased to announce a new pilot program that may assist families AFTER the foreclosure of their home with up to $2,500 to relocate and secure alternative housing.  Funding for this pilot program has been provided by the Saint Paul Foundation Community Economic Relief Fund.

For now, homeowners being displaced must have owned in Dakota, Ramsey or Washington Counties during this pilot program.  Depending on need, and availability of future funding, the program may be expanded.

Funds may be used for:

          • Moving expenses
          • Security deposits
          • Up to half of monthly rent for first three months
          • Utilities (gas, electric, water)

A fact sheet with additional program details and information, is available here.
Homeowners should contact the foreclosure counselors at the following organizations:
Due to limited funding... these grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hundreds Turn Out For Foreclosure Prevention Workshop

On Saturday, December 5th, 2009... Hundreds of homeowners from Minnesota's SE Asian community came to South High School in Minneapolis seeking assistance in preventing foreclosure.

With the help of 14 non-profit foreclosure counselors from the Center's network of providers, more than a dozen additional volunteers, and several representatives from Wells Fargo Bank, more than 200 people were able to receive information about Minnesota's foreclosure process and begin working with a non-profit counselor to find a solution to THEIR mortgage issues.

The event was targeted to the Metro Area's SE Asian population, and the Center is pleased that families in those communities responded.  Of those people who expressed a language preference upon registration, here is the breakdown:

At registration, we also asked attendees to share with us their reason for coming to the workshop (the reason for their mortgage issue).  Of those who chose to respond, here is the breakdown:

Overwhelmingly... job loss or a reduction in income was the NUMBER 1 reason workshop attendees are struggling with their mortgages.

The Center will be holding a similar workshop for Minnesota's Latino (Spanish-speaking) population on the 9th of January (2010).  For more information on that workshop - or to volunteer to help, click Here.

Disappointingly... MANY of the workshop participants told counselors and volunteers that they have already begun working with (and paying for!) for-profit loan modification companies.  NO HOMEOWNER that is struggling with mortgage payments should have to PAY for help.  Non-profit Foreclosure Counseling is available FREE OF CHARGE to ALL Minnesota residents.  Be Careful.

Additional photos from the event are available on the Center's FlickR gallery... here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pre-Foreclosure Notices, October 2009

Interesting information in the October 2009 Pre-Foreclosure Counts!

The Center has compiled the Pre-Foreclosure Notice Counts for the Month of October, 2009... and some interesting information has arisen. Statewide, the number of Pre-Foreclosure Notices has DROPPED 11.6% from September to October.
HOWEVER... Pre-Foreclosure Notices have RISEN slightly in the Twin Cities Metro.
The trend lines continue to show an upward climb - and remember, these numbers are self-reported by lenders/servicers or their attorneys.
Here are the January through October, 2009 STATEWIDE Pre-Foreclosure Numbers:

And here are the January through October, 2009 TWIN CITIES METRO AREA Pre-Foreclosure Numbers:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This Saturday - Dec 5 - Workshop for Struggling Homeowners

9:00am - 1:00pm (Open House)
South High School
3131 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis

The Center is continuing its preparations for a large-scale workshop for struggling homeowners in the Twin Cities Metro area Asian community. More than 12 non-profit Foreclosure Counselors will be on hand and dozens of volunteers will be working diligently to assist homeowners that may not know where to turn for help. Representatives from Wells Fargo bank will also be participating to assist clients whose loans are serviced by Wells. (Dozens of other lenders have been invited and may also participate)

The Center has conducted a direct mailing of over 15,000 letters - many signed by local mayors from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Plymouth, Richfield and Bloomington to let consumers know about the event! The event has been highlighted in local Asian newspapers and on several radio programs.

At the event, homeowners will be able to hear a presentation about the foreclosure process in Minnesota and the kinds of help and assistance offered by the non-profit network of counselors, get information about how to contact a housing counselor that speaks their language and, if they'd like, even have a brief appointment with one of those housing counselors to get some of their questions answered directly.

English, Hmong, Vietnamese, Laotian, Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) Korean, Khmer (Cambodian) Japanese and even Spanish-speaking counselors and volunteers will be present!

Do you speak a SE Asian language? Would you like to volunteer to make a difference to struggling families? Contact John Reynolds at the Center ASAP to volunteer. (There will be a training at the Center on Friday, December 4th, 9:00am for volunteers)

You can still help us spread the word! Please post the flyer or share with your friends/family/clients (they don't have to be Asian!). A copy of the flyer, with additional information about the event, is available here. For copies in Hmong or Chinese, visit our website here.