Community HousingWorks helps struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure

Community HousingWorks provides one-on-one help to homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Clients receive individual action plans that may include referrals for tax assistance, legal remedies, and financial assistance programs. Photo courtesy of Community HousingWorks.

Community HousingWorks (CHW), a nonprofit organization with offices in City Heights and Escondido, offers counseling and coaching services to homeowners struggling to meet their mortgage debt obligations. CHW’s Foreclosure Intervention Center addresses the needs of these borrowers with a comprehensive line of counseling services, referrals to additional resources, and educational workshops designed specifically to help prevent foreclosure.

Homeowners seeking counseling receive one-on-one help resulting in an action plan that may include referrals to outside service providers for pre-bankruptcy counseling, tax assistance, legal remedies, and financial assistance programs.

After an initial coaching session and once CHW has received a complete package of information from a client, the staff uploads the data using national technology platforms that have been created for agencies like CHW around the country. If the action plan calls for a loan modification or forbearance, loss mitigation specialists will act as advocates to assist the borrower in modifying his mortgage. All services of the Foreclosure Intervention Center are free, with the exception of the costs related to a credit report, in-house copies, and/or a Distressed Neighborhood Report.

Many options exist for financially-strapped homeowners. Each bank has its own program and eligibility criteria. The federal government also assists those who qualify. The most recent program available to struggling homeowners in California is called “Keep Your Home California.” This $2 billion program provides assistance to low- or moderate-income families going through financial hardships, such as unemployment or temporary medical disability.

Since 2007, when CHW began helping struggling homeowners retain their homes, 95% of all homeowners that received loan modifications have continued to make their mortgage payments on time and are still living in their home. As a result of its success, CHW has been featured in a Freddie Mac publication series called “Best Practices in Foreclosure Intervention Counseling.” The agency’s team of certified counselors also has won other recognitions: the 2010 Distinguished Organization award from the San Diego County Bar Association and a first place award for “Advocacy, Social Change, and Diversity Planning” from the San Diego section of the American Planning Association.

Community HousingWorks’ City Heights office is located at 4305 University Ave., Suite 550. For more information, call (619) 282-6647 or visit www.chworks.org.

Krista Culhane is the public relations and marketing manager for Community HousingWorks.