2012 Foreclosure Counseling Program Report

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1 0 Foreclosure Counseling Program Report Prepared by Karen Duggleby, MSW, LISW Minnesota Homeownership Center

2 Acknowledgements The Minnesota Homeownership Center is profoundly grateful for the dedicated professionals working within the Homeownership Advisors Network. The many positive results identified in this report would not have been possible without their hard work, patience and dedication for serving families at risk of foreclosure. About the Minnesota Homeownership Center The Minnesota Homeownership Center s mission is to promote and advance successful home ownership in Minnesota, with a focus on serving the needs of low- and moderate-income families and emerging markets. At the core of this mission is the belief that lower income households can achieve and recognize the benefits of long-term homeownership if they enter homeownership through the right door prepared to make wise, informed decisions for their families. The Minnesota Homeownership Center offers a unique approach to homeownership preparedness and sustainability: using a centralized, managed structure. In its centralized role, the Center provides leadership for key initiatives and partnerships that promote home ownership preparedness and sustainable homeownership throughout Minnesota. The Center ensures statewide access to high quality, consistent services by convening the Homeownership Advisors Network, a network of agencies that deliver its home ownership education and foreclosure counseling programs. The Center s approach emphasizes: High-quality programming grounded in national best practices Programming that is responsive to the changing environment Consistency of service delivery for consumers regardless of programming location A leadership entity serving as a single point of contact and expertise for industry stakeholders, funders, and the broader community. Mortgage industry stakeholders concerned with affordable, sustainable home ownership founded the Minnesota Homeownership Center in 993. Since that time, the Minnesota Homeownership Center and its network have achieved a strong record of accomplishment across the state in helping primarily economically disadvantaged and underserved households access sustainable home ownership.

3 Table of Contents Key Findings. Introduction Foreclosure Process Chart. Report Overview and Methodology 3. Counseling Service Statistics 0 Households Served Map 4. Findings: Loans, Affordability and Counseling Outcomes 0 Foreclosures Prevented Map 5. Client Demographic Information Appendix A: Foreclosure Prevention Counseling: The Minnesota Model The content of this report is 03, Minnesota Home Ownership Center. Reproduction of part or all its contents in any form is prohibited without the written consent of the Minnesota Homeownership Center.

4 0 Foreclosure Counseling Program Report Key Findings Households Counseled 5,947 in 0 4% decrease from 0. 69,790 since 005 Foreclosures (Sheriff Sales) Pre-Foreclosure Notices 6% decrease from 0. 8% decrease from 0. 47% Foreclosure Avoided of households avoided foreclosure in 0 6, 43 households have avoided foreclosure since 008 The earlier homeowners seek help, the more time they have to resolve their mortgage problems. 4% accessed counseling after falling behind over 0 days. Mortgage Payments 3 out of 5 had mortgage payments that were more than 30% of their income (considered unaffordable). 55% fell behind due to loss or reduction in income $37,96 Median Household Income Household Income 70% have low income (80% or below AMI) 47 Average Age The foreclosure advisor was able to talk with the mortgage company that I couldn t get through to, and they were able to get answers I never could. Having someone to advocate on my behalf with the mortgage company and to navigate me through the process is what made all the difference. It s what kept me in my home. Participant 4

5 Introduction The Foreclosure Crisis in Minnesota In 0, foreclosure numbers showed some signs of improvement with fewer foreclosures than 0, 7,895 sheriff sales compared to just over,000 in 0. Nevertheless, this number is still alarmingly high. High levels of unemployment and depressed home prices also indicate that the crisis is not over. Recent decreases in pre-foreclosure notices, which are sent to homeowners who are two to three months past due, suggest that mortgage foreclosures will continue to threaten the housing stability of many families in 03. Over 39,000 homeowners in Minnesota received pre-foreclosure notices in 0. Unemployment and a weak housing market with declining home values continue to be a major part of the foreclosure problem. Prior to the housing crisis, homeowners faced with a loss of income could sell their home to avoid foreclosure. Today, declining home values and a relatively weak housing market mean that many homeowners owe more than their home is worth, making it difficult to sell a home quickly, especially at a time when there are fewer prospective buyers. It is likely that the foreclosure crisis will continue at or near 0 levels for the near future. Homeowners will continue to struggle and the need for foreclosure counseling services will remain strong. Figure : Minnesota Foreclosure Sales by Year & Region 30,000 5,000 3,09 5,673,98 0,000 5,000 4,53 5,779 3,8 7,895 0,686 0,000 5, Twin Cities Metro Statewide Source: HousingLink, Foreclosures in Minnesota: A Report Based on County Sheriff s Sale Data. Feb 03. 5

6 Figure : Number of Pre-foreclosure Notices, by year ,000 66,570 7,665 60,000 54,569 40,000 39,054 0, Overview of Minnesota s Foreclosure Process Foreclosure is the legal process that allows a lender to take possession of and sell a property because the borrower did not meet the terms of the loan. State laws guide the process of foreclosure, which means that laws pertaining to foreclosure vary from state to state. State laws outline the sequence of events and actions that need to take place for a foreclosure to happen. The primary method of foreclosure in Minnesota is referred to as non-judicial foreclosure, also known as foreclosure by advertisement. This means that most foreclosures in Minnesota occur without court intervention. The foreclosure process typically begins after the fourth missed mortgage payment (see Figure, page 7). At this time, the loan transfers from the lender s collections department to an attorney. Working on behalf of the lender, the attorney begins the foreclosure process by first notifying the homeowner that they are handling the foreclosure and then scheduling a sheriff s sale date. The sheriff s sale is part of the foreclosure process in which the home is put up for sale at a public auction and sold to the highest bidder, usually the lender. Once the date of the sheriff s sale auction has been set, the law dictates that a notice of the sheriff s sale date must be published in a local newspaper for six consecutive weeks. The occupant of the property is served a notice of foreclosure at least four (4) weeks prior to the foreclosure sale. A formal redemption period follows the sale, which typically lasts six (6) months, during which the borrower can redeem the property by paying the amount of the foreclosure sale plus any accumulated interest, taxes, liens, or fees. For more details on the laws that govern Minnesota nonjudicial foreclosure go to: 6

7 Figure 3: Foreclosure Process Chart Foreclosure Process in Minnesota Foreclosure by Advertisement Missed payments 6 weeks before sale 4 weeks before sale Sheriff s Sale Sale date scheduled Sheriff s Sale Pre foreclosure notice Missed payment notice Default/ intent to foreclose notice Lender calls and sends a letter Receive default notice. Phone calls and collection efforts continue. Account forwarded to foreclosing attorney (legal fees accrue). Receive Preforeclosure Notice. Sheriff s Sale date scheduled by attorney. (Date published for 6 consecutive weeks.) Occupant served with notice of Sheriff s Sale Deadline to bring mortgage current OPTION: MN state law allows homeowners to postpone Sheriff s Sale in return for shortened redemption period. Must file for postponement between date sale is published and 5 days prior to Sale. Redemption Period Typically 6 months. May be months if agricultural. May be shortened to 5 weeks if property is abandoned or sale was postponed by homeowner. Eviction Redemption period BEGINS Month Month Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 You maintain the right to stay in your home [To redeem the property you must pay off the entire Sheriff s Sale amount + interest and fees] Redemption period ENDS - OR - Vacate Face eviction To speak with a foreclosure counselor in your area, contact the Minnesota Home Ownership Center at (866) or NOTE: This document represents the most common foreclosure process in MN and may vary. Information is not presented as legal advice. 00 Minnesota Home Ownership Center 7

8 Key Activities in 0 The Minnesota Homeownership Center s efforts in 0 focused on implementing strategies to improve consumer outcomes while directing the most efficient use of resources. Some examples of this work are highlighted below. Ongoing work with NFMC The Minnesota Homeownership Center has played an integral role in helping Minnesota Housing secure state funding from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program (NFMC). The NFMC program is a special federal appropriation that is designed to support a rapid expansion of foreclosure intervention counseling in response to the nationwide foreclosure crisis. Over the past several years, the Minnesota Homeownership Center s network success in serving at-risk borrowers, combined with strong philanthropic support of local corporations and foundations has provided an important source of leverage. As a result, Minnesota has been able to secure the third highest level of NFMC funding among all state housing finance agencies. Taken together, this local and national funding has allowed the Center s network to expand its capacity to meet the demand for foreclosure prevention services. Fannie Mae Help Center to Fannie Mae Help Network The Center continued its partnership with Fannie Mae to ensure an expedited, effective process for loss mitigation for Fannie Mae clients. The program, the first of its kind in the country, has served as a model for similar programs in other states. The relationship has dramatically decreased the turnaround time for resolutions with servicers and has created a reimbursement for service program to help sustain foreclosure prevention programming. Early Resolution Counseling Portal (ERCP) After a successful pilot in 0, the ERCP program was rolled out to dozens of the Center s partners in 0. ERCP is a partnership between the Center, Housing Partnership Network and Wells Fargo that brings together the strengths of all organizations to expedite and increase the long-term success of loan workouts. Through this partnership, housing counselors help borrowers complete a detailed package of documents, which are then submitted to a designated Wells Fargo representative. Counselors work with borrowers on household budgeting and other concerns to improve long-term success of the loan workout. As with the Fannie Mae program, ERCP includes a reimbursement for service. Advanced Outreach In 0, the Center implemented advanced outreach techniques to get more consumers connected to the Homeownership Advisors Network. On the internet, the Center used enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and banner advertising to reach over 4 million Minnesota consumers, more than doubling the access to the Center s web site. These techniques will help the Center s visibility long-term, with benefits far outlasting the end of the campaign. The Center also re-introduced its Foreclosure Scam Alert campaign (Look Before You Leap) with a month-long public awareness effort specifically targeted to Latino homeowners in the Twin Cities Metro Area. Communications included direct mail to over,000 Hispanic homeowners, bus stop posters, call-in radio programs and radio ads, and print ads in the Spanish language newspapers. 8

9 Report Overview & Methodology This report provides a summary of evaluation results for the foreclosure prevention counseling program supported by the Minnesota Homeownership Center. Through this program, local foreclosure counseling services are delivered to consumers in 5 agencies throughout Minnesota. The report summarizes household and loan characteristics, service usage, and outcomes for homeowners receiving foreclosure counseling during 0. This report includes data collected by foreclosure counselors at the 5 agencies in the Homeownership Advisors Network (see below) providing foreclosure counseling services through the Minnesota Homeownership Center s network. The report presents data and findings for all homeowners who went through a triage assessment and received either phone or in-person counseling. The triage assessment enables counselors to assess the homeowner s situation and identify possible solutions. The process includes gathering information from the homeowner including mortgage status, reason for delinquency, mortgage product and other housing expenses, affordability and their commitment to stay in the home. Overall, 60% of the clients served went through the triage assessment and received basic counseling and another 40% received more in-depth counseling. Program data was tracked using a central online reporting tool called CounselorMax. The data for this report is based on client data from 0 unless otherwise noted. The data was downloaded from CounselorMax and analyzed using SPSS and GIS software. The following agencies provided client data for this report: Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency Anoka County Community Action Program Bi-County Community Action Program Carver County Community Development Agency CCCS of The Village Family Service Center City of St. Paul, Planning & Economic Development Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin Community Neighborhood Housing Services Dakota County Community Development Agency Hmong American Partnership Inter-County Community Council LSS Financial Counseling Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA) Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership Northwest Community Action Program Ottertail-Wadena Community Action Council PRG, Inc. Rochester/Olmstead Community Housing Partnership Scott County Community Development Agency Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership Tri-Valley Opportunity Council Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority West Central Community Action Program Wright County Community Action Program New agency as of October 0 9

10 3 Counseling Service Statistics The Minnesota Homeownership Advisor s Network of foreclosure counseling agencies continued to serve a remarkable number of households. In 0, the Center s network provided foreclosure counseling services to 5,947 homeowners. While the Center s network continues to manage a high volume of clients, the numbers served in 0 represent a decrease of 4% over 0 service. While numbers have dropped they still remain above the average prior to the crisis that began in 008. Initial data from 03 indicates it is likely that the foreclosure crisis will continue at or near 0 levels for the near future. Other potential reasons for the reduction include improved direct lender participation in loss mitigation and consumer decisions to forego foreclosure prevention services in light of the valuation of their properties. With the lingering economic crisis and resulting unemployment losses, many families with prime loans are having difficulty making their mortgage payments. Homeowners will continue to struggle and the need for foreclosure counseling services will remain strong. Figure 4: Households Served Total Households Year Served 005 4, , ,88 008, ,868 00,58 0 0,78 0 5,947 TOTAL 69,790 Figure 5: Households Served by Quarter, ' 08' 08' 3 08' 4 09' 09' 09' 3 09' 4 0' 0' 0' 3 0' 4 ' ' ' 3 ' 4 ' ' ' 3 ' 4 0

11 Minnesota Homeownership Center: Foreclosure Counseling 0 Households Served by County Kittson Roseau 5 Lake of the Woods 8 Marshall 9 Pennington 9 Red Lake Polk Clearwater 4 Norman Mahnomen 6 Beltrami 49 Koochiching 9 Itasca 4 St. Louis 36 Lake 8 Cook 3 Clay 46 Becker Hubbard 0 Cass 4 Wilkin 6 Otter Tail 35 Pipestone Murray Wadena 7 Crow Wing 09 Blue Earth 40 Aitkin 8 Waseca Steele Dodge 3 9 Carlton 6 Pine Todd Morrison 4 Grant Douglas 8 Mille LacsKanabec Traverse Benton Stevens Pope 3 Stearns Isanti Big Stone 8 4 Chisago 3 05 Sherburne Swift Anoka 8 Kandiyohi Wright 60 Meeker Chippewa Lac Qui Parle Hennepin Washington Ramsey McLeod Carver Yellow Medicine Renville Scott Dakota Sibley Lincoln Lyon Redwood Goodhue 6 Nicollet Le Sueur 5 Rice 47 Brown Wabasha 0 Cottonwood Watonwan 7 8 Olmsted 7 Winona 8 Households Served by Region Region Households Served Metro (7-County) 3,59 Northwest 56 Northeast 460 Central 839 West Central 05 Southwest 66 Southeast 499 Outside MN 30 Total 5,947 Rock 4 Nobles Jackson 7 Martin 6 Faribault Freeborn Mower Fillmore Houston Number of Households Served

12 4 Findings: Loans, Affordability & Counseling Outcomes Analysis of Loan Type The vast majority of the homeowners served by foreclosure counseling have fixed rate prime mortgages. This marks the continuation of a pattern that began four years ago, as the foreclosure crisis transitioned from a subprime mortgage problem to an unemployment problem. In 008, 7% of the homeowners receiving counseling services had a subprime mortgage. In 0, only 5% had subprime mortgages. Eighty-seven (87%) percent of the homeowners served by the Minnesota Homeownership Center s counseling network had fixed rate prime mortgages. The remaining 7% had adjustable rate prime mortgages. Figure 6: Prime & Subprime by Loan Type, % 80% 60% 40% 0% 0% Fixed Prime ARM Prime Fixed Subprime Arm Subprime Figure 7: Prime & Subprime Loans 0 0 Prime (>=8%) 94% 94% Subprime (8+%) 6% 5% Missing -- %

13 Loan Status About half (46%) of the homeowners sought help from a foreclosure advisor while they were less than 90 days late on their mortgage; % were still current on their mortgage when they began working with their advisor. In general, homeowners who seek help early have a greater chance of averting foreclosure than those who wait until a sheriff s sale is pending. One troubling continuing trend in the 0 data is the high share of homeowners (4%) who accessed foreclosure counseling after falling behind by over 0 days on their mortgage payments. It is possible that it is due to increasing number of homeowners who are trying to work out loan modifications directly with their lender. Advisors in the Minnesota Homeownership Center s network are seeing more homeowners enter counseling after first trying to work with their lender. Unable to achieve a result, these homeowners seek foreclosure counseling at a later stage of delinquency. Figure 8: Loan Status at Intake, Loan Status 0 0 Current % % Days Late 5% 5% 6-90 Days Late 0% 9% 9-0 Days Late % % 0+ Days Late 43% 4% 00% Figure 9: Loan Status at Intake 75% 50% 5% 0+ Days Late 9-0 Days late 6-90 Days late Days late Current 0%

14 Reason for Default The data continues to show that loss of income is the primary reason for default among homeowners seeking foreclosure counseling assistance. In 0, fifty-five percent of the homeowners served reported that they had either a loss or reduction of their household income. Reduction in income refers to situations in which total household income has decreased, typically because hours available for work have been reduced, a reduction in government assistance, or loss of a part- time job. Loss of income refers to homeowners who have become unemployed and have temporarily lost all sources of income. Counselors report that many clients are seeking assistance as they have become unemployed or have seen a loss in hours. Figure 0: Reason for Default Reason Percent 0 0 Reduction in Income 36% 33% Loss of Income 4% % Poor Budget Management Skills 0% % Medical Issues % 0% Divorce/Seperation 7% 9% Increase in Expense 4% 7% Increase in Loan Payment % % Death of Family Member % % Business Venture Failed %.5% Other % 3% 4

15 Analysis of loan affordability The majority of homeowners counseled had mortgage payments that were unaffordable at the time they sought counseling. Fifty-four (54 %) of the homeowners had a monthly mortgage payment that was more than 30% of their household income. Payments that are at or below 30% of income are typically considered affordable. In 0, the median monthly mortgage payment among the homeowners receiving counseling services was $66, which is $34 less than the previous year. Over one-third of the homeowners served had a monthly payment of $000 or less. Nearly 30% of the homeowners had first-lien loan payments that exceeded $500; this represents no change over 0. Figure : Percentage of Homeowners Income Paid to Mortgage Payment 00% 50% 0% 36% 54% Less than 30% spent on mortgage More than 30% spent on mortgage 5

16 Counseling Outcome Summary Over the past five years, the Minnesota Homeownership Centers network has helped over 6,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure. During this time, the Center s network prevented foreclosures for 57% of the homeowners who received counseling. The industry average for foreclosure prevention is 36%. It often takes many months to identify the outcome of foreclosure counseling. As of early 03, outcome data was available for 6% (3,70) of the homeowners who first sought counseling in 0. Thirty-eight percent (,46) of cases opened during 0 are still receiving counseling. Figure 4: Number of Foreclosure Outcomes on Closed Cases Outcomes 0 0 Foreclosures Prevented Foreclosure Occurred Outcome Unknown 3,707 (60%),508 (5%) 90 (5%),70 (47%) 79 (9%),6 (34%) TOTAL 6,6 3,70 Figure 5: Summary of Foreclosure Outcomes on Closed Cases , ,00 9, Foreclosure Prevented Foreclosure Occurred Outcome Unknown 6

17 Foreclosures prevented In 0, forty-seven percent (47%) of the homeowners receiving counseling services were able to avoid foreclosure. Among those who averted foreclosure, 90% were able to stay in their home and 0% were unable to stay in their home. Based on available outcome data, there were,70 foreclosures prevented among those who first sought counseling in 0. Figure : Number of Foreclosures Prevented, by Remedy 0-0 Remained in Home Foreclosures Prevented 0 0 Brought Mortgage Current, Initiated Forbearance Agreement Mortgage Modified Bankrupcy Mortgage Refinanced Received Second Mortgage 3 Partial Claim 3 6 Entered Debt Management Plan 40 7 Unable to Remain in Home Pre-Foreclosure Sale (Short sale) Sold Property 3 65 Executed Deed-in-Lieu 5 TOTAL 3,707 (60%),70 (47%) Figure 3: Percent of Foreclosures Prevented by Remedy, % Brought Mortgage Current Mortgage Modified 5% Forbearance Agreement Short sale 0% Bankruptcy Sold Property Mortgage Refinanced 7

18 Minnesota Homeownership Center: Foreclosure Counseling 0 Foreclosures Prevented by County Kittson Roseau Lake of the Woods Marshall 5 Pennington 0 Red Lake 0 Polk Clearwater Norman Mahnomen 0 Beltrami 8 Koochiching 0 Itasca 4 St. Louis 54 Lake 3 Cook 0 Clay 8 Becker Hubbard Cass 9 Wilkin Otter Tail 0 Pipestone Murray 0 Wadena 3 Crow Wing Blue Earth 8 Aitkin Waseca Steele Dodge 3 Carlton 3 Pine Todd Morrison 7 Grant Douglas Mille LacsKanabec Traverse Benton Stevens Pope 8 Stearns Isanti Big Stone 4 Chisago Sherburne Swift Anoka Kandiyohi Wright 354 Meeker Chippewa Lac Qui Parle Hennepin Washington Ramsey McLeod Carver Yellow Medicine Renville 4 Scott Dakota Sibley 3 8 Lincoln Lyon Redwood Goodhue 0 3 Nicollet Le Sueur 0 Rice 0 Brown 4 9 Wabasha Cottonwood Watonwan 3 Olmsted 9 Winona 3 MN Foreclosure Statistics Region Households Served Foreclosures Prevented Metro (7-County) 3,59,99 Northwest Northeast Central West Central Southwest 66 6 Southeast Outside MN 30 0 Total 5947,70 Rock Nobles Jackson Martin Faribault Freeborn Mower Fillmore Houston 5 3 Number of Foreclosures Prevented

19 5 Client Demographic Information Households Household Type Marital Status Married Married with children with Single adult 34.7% 9.0% Divorced 6% Widow 4% Married without Married children Female-headed single-parent Female-headed household Two or more unrelated Two or more adults 4.3%.5% 4.4% Single 9% Married 5% Male-headed single-parent Male-headed household 3.3% Other.7% 0% 50% Age Median Age = 47 Education Highest Education Achieved Credit Score Median Credit Score = 577 Referral Sources Top 3 Ways they heard about us: 00% 7% 4% 3% 4% Unknown Graduate Bachelors Associates HS Grad 3 Agency Outreach (3%) Lender/Mortgage Co (9%) Friend/Word of Mouth (7%) 49% 0% 9

20 Race 3% 3% % White 8% 8% 76% Black Hispanic Multiple Race Asian Unknown Income Median Annual Income= $37,96 Annual Household Income Percent of Area Median Income (AMI) 00K+ 75K-00K 3% 8% 00% 6% % [70% are 0-80% or low income.] 50K-75K 5K-50K 0% 40% 8% 3% 00%+ 8-00% 6-80% 0K-5K <0K 4% 4% 40% 5-60% 0-50% 0% 50% 0% 0

21 Appendix Foreclosure Prevention Counseling: The Minnesota Model The Minnesota Homeownership Center brings 7 years of experience in supporting the delivery of foreclosure counseling services in Minnesota. Today, homeowners in Minnesota have access to foreclosure prevention services in each of the state s 87 counties. Using a community-based service delivery model, services are provided locally through a network of 5 organizations, called the Homeownership Advisors Network. These organizations represent a mix of community-based non-profit and government organizations that are involved with some aspect of housing as part of their mission. Most of the organizations have been offering foreclosure prevention services for the past decade. Based upon three essential elements, Minnesota s foreclosure prevention model demonstrates innovation, creativity and superior effectiveness in helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. A centralized approach: The Minnesota Homeownership Center s model uses a centralized, managed approach to homebuyer education and foreclosure counseling. The Center provides leadership and key services to community based homeownership agencies, including program models, certification and training, technical support, data collection and evaluation, program outreach, policy leadership and fundraising. One of the organization s most important functions is to develop and deploy a continuum of homeownership education and counseling services, from pre-purchase to foreclosure counseling. Statewide access to locally based services: Homeowners in Minnesota have access to foreclosure counseling services in each of the state s 87 counties. Using a community-based service delivery model, counseling services are provided locally through a network of non-profit and local government agencies whose mission emphasizes housing. The foreclosure advisors in this network are both highly trained and experienced. Most of the organizations have been offering foreclosure counseling for the past decade. Sustainable, coordinated funding: One of the strengths of the Minnesota Homeownership Center s foreclosure counseling model is that it has a consistent, reliable funding source. The program is financed through four primary funders: the state housing finance agency (Minnesota Housing); the Minnesota Homeownership Center, which receives its funding through lenders, local governments and a variety of philanthropic organizations; and two foundations the Family Housing Fund and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. The community-based agencies providing foreclosure counseling receive funding through a competitive process, facilitated by the Minnesota Homeownership Center. This process avoids service duplication and ensures that high quality services are available statewide. When the foreclosure crisis emerged, the Minnesota Homeownership Center had the infrastructure in place to conduct the rapid and extensive organizational ramp-up required to meet the growing need for foreclosure counseling. The Center improved its service delivery model, increased its foreclosure prevention service capacity, and launched a large-scale public awareness and outreach campaign. The result of this effort is a statewide foreclosure prevention system that responds to consumer demand in the most efficient and effective way possible. Over the past five years, the Minnesota Homeownership Center s network of counselors has gone from serving an average of 4,500 distressed homeowners a year prior to 007 to nearly 6,000 in 009 and over 0,000 in 0.

22 Achieving foreclosure prevention through effective counseling services Foreclosure prevention advisors work with homeowners facing foreclosure and help them to understand how they got into their current situation. Then, they help these homeowners develop a plan to move forward. Often, this includes asking a difficult question Can you afford your home over the long-term? For those who can, counselors work through a series of steps to help the homeowner get back on track with their mortgage. First, they examine if there are any personal resources available, such as savings or possibly loans from family or friends. Advisors also help connect homeowners with resources available in the community. Next, the advisors work with the mortgage company to explore loss mitigation options. Loss mitigation can include an array of solutions that help the homeowner to stay in the home. These solutions often include extending the loan to make up missed payments, temporarily lowering payments or lowering the interest rate to make the loan more affordable. Foreclosure Advisors work with homeowners to: Understand the foreclosure process Develop a customized plan to address their unique situation Improve financial management skills Know their mortgage product and communicate with their mortgage company Identify options for preventing foreclosure, including negotiating with the mortgage company for loss mitigation Avoid predatory practices Find alternative housing solutions if foreclosure is inevitable.

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Homebuyer Education & Counseling Program Report

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