June 3, 2008 — Over 3000 homes face foreclosure each month in the greater Houston area. That is one in every 168 households. While the sub-prime crisis has had devastating effects in many areas, ACORN and the City of Houston have decided to launch an aggressive campaign to prevent foreclosures and help troubled borrowers.
Mayor Bill White, in partnership with ACORN, is holding a Foreclosure Prevention Fair at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Saturday, June 7th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The event is free, and open to anyone who may be in danger of foreclosure, has an adjustable rate mortgage about to reset, or simply feels they are in a bad loan. At the event, borrowers will have the opportunity to meet with expert, HUD certified, ACORN Housing counselors to discuss their situations and determine their best options. Several lenders, including Chase, Countrywide Mortgage, GMAC Homecomings Mortgage, HSBC, and Litton, will be on site to meet directly with their borrowers to discuss affordable loan modifications. Attendees should bring their most recent mortgage statement or foreclosure notice. Assistance will be available in Spanish, English, and Vietnamese.
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has been fighting predatory lending for nearly 15 years. For much of that time, the fight was to prevent lenders from charging unnecessarily high interest rates, adding excessive points and fees, and attaching prepayment penalties that end up locking people into these high-cost loans. Through their efforts, ACORN won a class action lawsuit against Household Finance and won a settlement that stopped many foreclosures, and fixed bad loans. This also prompted many Attorneys General across the country to go after them, resulting in a $500 million settlement. Recently, ACORN has reached an agreement with Countrywide to remedy their unfair lending practices with loan modifications.
Nationwide, ACORN Housing was able to help over 4,000 people facing foreclosure in 2007. Over the last 6 months, counselors have helped hundreds of homeowners secure loan modifications that moved them from a high, adjustable rate loan to a low, fixed rate loan. The National Foreclosure Mitigation Fund recently awarded ACORN Housing a $7.8 million grant to continue its work in foreclosure prevention counseling. This grant allows ACORN Housing to expand its foreclosure prevention program. Nationwide, ACORN Housing aims to save 25,000 families from the fate of foreclosure in 2008.