Mortgage Counseling Agencies to Receive Aid, Hire More Counselors
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Mortgage Counseling Agencies to Receive Aid, Hire More Counselors

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Mortgage counseling agencies will receive $5 million to hire more counselors over the next two years, and help the half a million California homeowners facing interest rate resets and the threat of foreclosure.  The California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), 10 financial institutions and two foundations today announced grant awards to 39 mortgage counseling agencies through the California Home Ownership Preservation Initiative to help them better respond to the overflow of clients their offices are serving.
    Initiative funds will be used to hire 58 mortgage counselors statewide, who are expected to serve 40,000 troubled home loan borrowers, predominantly in low-moderate income neighborhoods that were targeted with predatory subprime loans. The funds will also help mortgage counseling agencies’ outreach to working families faced with foreclosure.
“Mortgage counselors are critical to keeping Californians in their homes,” says Alan Fisher, executive director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, the organization that raised the funds for the Initiative.  “By increasing the number of mortgage counselors, the California Home Ownership Preservation Initiative fulfills one of two major elements in solving much of the foreclosure crisis. The other requires the mortgage industry to play a more active role by modifying loans and working with troubled borrowers.”
    The California Reinvestment Coalition partnered with Merrill Lynch, HSBC-North America, Wachovia Bank, Comerica Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Countrywide Financial, Citi, Bank of America, Washington Mutual, JP Morgan Chase, San Francisco Foundation and California Community Foundation to create the $5 million Initiative. The partners released today a list of grant awards to California nonprofit organizations serving troubled home loan borrowers. 
    It is predicted that half a million California mortgage borrowers will struggle to make payments on their home loans in the next two years.  There are positive solutions that could keep many of these borrowers in their homes. Mortgage counselors help borrowers find solutions to their home loan problems. For Initiative partners, this highlights the critical role mortgage counselors play in slowing the tide of foreclosures that is sweeping California.
    Counseling agencies report being overwhelmed by the 200 to 500 percent increase in homeowners walking through their doors in 2007. As the foreclosure crisis worsens, these agencies will see even more borrowers.  The Initiative is one piece of an effort to help homeowners in trouble find solutions, and neighborhoods stay whole.

For more information and to talk with mortgage counselors, contact Alan Fisher at 415-864-3980, afisher (at) calreinvest (dot) org, 474 Valencia Street, Suite 230, San Francisco, California 94103 or visit www.calreinvest.org.

For more information about the California Home Ownership Preservation Initiative partners contact:
Bill Halldin, Merrill Lynch, (916) 781-0657
Kate Durham, HSBC-North America, (847) 291-2101
Bill Becker, Comerica Bank, (310) 297-2263
J. Reymundo Ocañas, Wachovia Corporation, (510) 446-3325
Tim Hanlon, Wells Fargo Bank, (760) 864-1023
Mary Jane Seebach, Countrywide Financial, (818) 225-3361
Natalie Abatemarco, Citi, (212) 559-6393
Al Arguello, Bank of America, (213) 621-4825
Antonio Manning, Washington Mutual, (323) 860-2006
Michael Carren, JP Morgan Chase, (212) 270-0594
Alvertha Penny, California Community Foundation, (213) 413-4130
James Head, San Francisco Foundation, (415) 733-8514

Grants will be awarded to the following:
ACORN HOUSING, Los Angeles
Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency, Jackson
Asian Incorporated, San Francisco
ByDesign Financial Solutions, Fresno
CA Rural Legal Assistance, Inc, San Francisco
Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, Ventura
City of Vacaville, Vacaville
Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, Indio
Community Housing Council of Fresno, Fresno
Community Housing Development Corporation, Richmond
Community Housing Improvement Program, Chico
Community Housing Works, San Diego
Community Legal Services of E. Palo Alto, East Palo Alto
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of SF, San Francisco
East LA Community Corporation, Los Angeles
EPA Can Do, East Palo Alto
Fair Housing Council of Orange County, Santa Ana
Hermandad Mexicana LatinoAmericana, Santa Ana
Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, Oakland
Korean Churches for Community Development, Los Angeles
Lao Family Community Development, Oakland
Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services, Los Angeles
Mission Economic Development Agency, San Francisco
Monterey County Housing Alliance, Salinas
Neighborhood Housing Services of Orange County, Anaheim
Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire, San Bernardino
Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley, San Jose
Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services Inc, Ontario
Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority, Ukiah
People’s Self-Help Housing, San Luis Obispo
Project Sentinel, Sunnyvale
Sacramento Home Loan Counseling Center, Sacramento
Sacramento Neighborhood Housing Services, Sacramento
San Diego Home Loan Counseling & Education Center, San Diego
Self-Help Enterprises, Visalia
Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Mgmt, Riverside
Unity Council, Oakland
Visionary Home Builders, Stockton
Watts Century Latino Organization, Los Angeles

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