Yesterday I attended an event on the foreclosure crisis hosted by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Lowell Mayor Patrick Murphy at Lowell City Hall. Representatives from numerous housing, legal aid and social service agencies from the region joined in the round table discussion. The primary topic was foreclosure prevention measures and how they can be made more effective. There was a surprising consistency in the comments made; foremost of them was the high level of stress experienced by people seeking mortgage modifications to stave off foreclosures. This is not news to us here at the registry; we see it and hear it everyday from homeowners with mortgage difficulties. One reason their distress is so pronounced, I believe, is that the mortgages being foreclosed now were mostly obtained prior to the collapse in 2007 so these people have been able to keep up with payments for a considerable length of time but some event such as divorce, illness or job loss - things stressful in their own right - has intervened and triggered the foreclosure process.
Other things discussed included the availability and power of the Attorney General's HomeCorps which is a section within her office charged with mitigating "future impacts of the foreclosure crisis by providing advocacy to distressed borrowers in Massachusetts facing foreclosure." Besides directly assisting homeowners, the staff at HomeCorps can also intervene when a homeowner or someone representing a homeowner seems to be receiving unfair treatment from a mortgage servicer.
More information about HomeCorps is available on the Attorney General's website and the office Hot Line is 617/573-5333.