Local groups provide free foreclosure help, warn homeowners against scams: Plain Dealing

Cleveland Plain Dealer - June 6, 2012
Sheryl Harris

New foreclosure filings are down, but many consumers still struggle to stay in their homes. 

Local nonprofit housing agencies are offering  a series of free events this month to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

At the same time, they’re banding together to warn homeowners away from scammers who claim to offer foreclosure help –for a fee — but never deliver.

Legitimate, free foreclosure help is available by calling 211/First Call for Help, and new billboards are going up around Cleveland to remind homeowners who to call. 

Steve Wertheim, 211’s director, said calls for foreclosure help are dropping overall, but more calls are coming from Cuyahoga County’s outer suburbs. “What’s interesting to us,” he said, “is 40 percent of the calls are from the city, 40 percent are from the first ring suburbs and about 20 percent are the outer ring suburbs.”

A Policy Matters Ohio report from April noted that while new foreclosure filings are down statewide, it’s clear plenty of homeowners remain in trouble. About 8 percent of mortgages statewide were at least 90 days past due, and about a third of homeowners owed more than their homes are worth.

Throughout the month, local HUD-approved nonprofits that work with 211 are holding free events to help Cuyahoga County residents save their homes.

The events run from 4-8 p.m. and are scheduled in:

• Euclid, June 12 at the Euclid Library (Lake Room), 631 East 222nd St.

• South Euclid, June 14 at the South Euclid Community Center, 1370 Victory Dr.

• Parma, June 19, Senior Center, 6611 Ridge Road

• Lakewood, June 21 at the University of Akron, Lakewood, 1415 Warren Road

• Garfield Heights, June 26 at the Word of Righteousness Family Life Center, 13455 Dressler Ave.

Participating nonprofits include Cleveland Housing Network, Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, ESOP, Home Repair Resource Center and Community Housing Solutions. Mortgage lenders also will be on hand.

Homeowners are asked to bring proof of income, their mortgage, expenses, tax returns and bank statements.

Call 2-1-1 for details or for referrals to legitimate foreclosure help.

Local groups provide free foreclosure help, warn homeowners against scams: Plain Dealing
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