Pathways out of Poverty: Foreclosure Prevention Event

Published

Dona Ponepinto
Vice President, Community Investments,
Basic Needs and Financial Stability
United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Do you know someone who is at risk of foreclosure? Have you been in a situation when you were at risk of losing your home? Or, perhaps you owe more on your home than what it is currently worth? The stark reality is that foreclosures continue to plague our region. The Michigan Foreclosure Task Force reports that more than 280,000 homes have been foreclosed on in since 2009. The total is expected to climb to about 327,000 by the end of 2012. 

Foreclosure statistics are stark

  • From January to July of this year, there have been 35,445 foreclosure filings in Southeastern Michigan, which also includes multiple filings on the same property. While that number is lower than 2011 foreclosures during the same time period, it is still an indication that thousands are in need of assistance.
  • As of January 2012, 56% of Michigan homeowners were underwater on their mortgage, meaning they owed more than their home was worth. This was the highest percentage of homeowners underwater in the country.
  • Michigan had the 7th highest foreclosure rate in the country for the first half of 2012.

As the numbers above indicate, there is an urgent need to connect homeowners with critical foreclosure prevention assistance. 

You can help prevent foreclosure

Please spread the word about the Homeowner Awareness Call-In Event taking place Sept. 4-6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Homeowners can dial 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment to speak with a housing counselor. This event is targeted to connect homeowners with a counselor, either through a direct appointment or through a referral to a counseling agency.

Foreclosure is costly

When a home is prevented from going into foreclosure, it can save $91,507 in costs to the homeowner, lender, local government.  It also prevents the decline in value of neighboring homes. Yet, statistics indicate that about 50% of homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure do not seek help. Often, people simply walk away from their homes.  

Along with the Regional Foreclosure Prevention Collaborative, partners have worked to execute strategies during the past five years, including informing homeowners of their options with online initiatives, 2-1-1 and face-to-face events and providing scam alert materials and other literature on foreclosure prevention.

Most importantly, they have helped to keep families in their homes.

Previously, in-person outreach events were a successful way to connect with homeowners.  Over time, however, the number of borrowers interested in participating in face-to-face events has greatly diminished. We believe, in part, this is because homeowners seek a private way to work through their mortgage issues. That's why the Homeowner Awareness Call-In Event is ideal.

If you need further information regarding housing counseling services, please visit our 2-1-1 page, foreclosuredetroit.org or miforeclosureresponse.org.