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More people seek help from Washington Co. CAC

Community Action Council has hired extra employee to help with foreclosure counseling

Community Action Council has hired extra employee to help with foreclosure counseling

February 29, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

The Washington County Community Action Council has seen a substantial increase in people asking for help with home foreclosures.

CAC Executive Director David G. Jordan said the organization has hired an extra counselor to handle the increase.

"We used to serve maybe 10 or 20 people a year. Now it's more like 10 a month. And I'm sure the number will go up," Jordan said.

For several years, CAC has offered mortgage foreclosure counseling.

While the organization does not have money to offer people who are behind on their house payments, they have three counselors who sometimes can convince lenders to work out different payment plans.

"Sometimes, it's a case of 'too little too late.' But if people come in soon enough, we can talk to their lenders and try to work something out on their behalf," Jordan said.

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Donna Rose, a counselor with CAC, said she helps people look at and understand their loan documents, create a budget and figure out where their money is going.

"A lot of people can do these things on their own, but some are so perplexed with it that it helps to have someone else work with them," Rose said.

She said changes in the loan and changes in income are the most common reasons people are asking for help.

"It's usually a combination of things. But a lot of the folks we see should never have been offered the loan they were given in the first place," Rose said.

Rose and other CAC counselors also screen people to see if they are eligible for state programs for people who cannot pay their mortgages.

Jordan said CAC is pointing people toward the state's recently launched "Bridge to Hope" program where they can get as much as $15,000 over two years to help get back on top of their mortgages.

Rose said people interested in the program should call CAC at 301-797-4161 and ask about the mortgage default counseling program.

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