Seattle Launches Foreclosure Prevention Outreach Campaign
Effort Hopes to Share Free Resources with Struggling Homeowners
SEATTLE – This fall, the Seattle Office of Housing will be spreading the word about free resources available to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure. The Seattle Homeowner Stabilization Program will partner with community organizations to conduct targeted outreach to homeowners in areas of the city most impacted by foreclosures, as well as reach out to the entire city through social media, partner organizations and the media.
The outreach effort builds on an existing foreclosure prevention program at the Office of Housing and utilizes $150,000 in dedicated funding approved by the Seattle City Council in September.
“Foreclosure has a devastating impact on Seattle’s homeowners, their neighborhoods and on our City as a whole. This outreach effort should have an immediate and positive impact for many individuals and families in need of help, while we also continue to explore other new and creative solutions,” stated Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency.
“Our primary goal is awareness,” stated Steve Walker, director of the Office of Housing. “Many resources are available to the public, such as free counseling and legal services, which can help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure in many cases. But it is vital that people seek help as soon as possible to preserve their options.”
Currently, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has a robust foreclosure prevention program, and many community organizations are already working diligently to assist homeowners in need of assistance. The City will build off these existing efforts and relationships to help even more homeowners stay in their homes.
“This outreach initiative is extremely helpful for reaching underserved populations that are disproportionately impacted by foreclosures in Seattle,” said Angeline Thomas, Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project Attorney at Seattle University.
In 2013, there were 2,090 homeowners who received Notice of Trustee Sales, which provide notice of a scheduled foreclosure auction on their foreclosed property. According to the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, only 10% of distressed or at-risk homeowners seek out the free resources available to help them.
“We find that every household that is struggling to pay its mortgage is unique,” stated Lili Sotelo of NW Justice Project. “The most important thing is for homeowners to seek help from a reputable organization as soon as possible so we can find the solutions that fit their situation.”
More information about foreclosure prevention resources is available at www.seattle.gov/housing/foreclosure.
Organizations that are interested in receiving further support to assist with foreclosure prevention may call 206.684.0721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Seattle Office of Housing provides support to low-income residents in Seattle through rental housing preservation and production, home buyer assistance, free weatherization services, and home repair loans. www.seattle.gov/housing
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