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January 01 2008

Operation HOPE Mortgage Crisis Initiative Gets Boost From Neighborworks America

Subprime assistance hotline 888 388 HOPE (4673) for foreclosure relief receives nearly $1million commitment through The California Housing Finance Agency 

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – May 19, 2008 – Financial literacy empowerment nonprofit, Operation HOPE (HOPE) announced today an $891,000 government pass-through grant originating from community nonprofit Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC). The award will support foreclosure intervention and loss mitigation counseling for homeowners having trouble paying their mortgage. 

   

The commitment will allow HOPE to increase the number of clients its mortgage crisis toll-free service can assist throughout California .  Homeowners outside of California can receive help through HOPE Now.  The Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline at 888 388 HOPE (4673) was established to service frustrated mortgage holders on a national level. As a result, thousands of families and individuals will be able to receive guidance on how to avoid foreclosure and restructure their home loans. 

 

“With mortgage industry analysts estimating that over 1.5 million Americans are at risk of foreclosure, it is more important than ever to focus on solutions. Support from this award will allow us to improve and increase communication with clients. Measures like these help us, help homeowners save their homes and their dreams,” said John Hope Bryant, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, CEO and recent Vice Chair appointee to the U.S. President’s Advisory Council for Financial Literacy. “HOPE’s goal is to maximize the preservation of homeownership while minimizing foreclosures and assist borrowers who have the willingness and wherewithal to remain in their homes, but need some help to do it. Our goal is to keep people in their homes and when that is not possible, prevent foreclosure.” 

 

The funding, which stems from a coalition of foreclosure prevention agencies in California, includes funding from Neighborworks ® America with the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program. California Housing Finance Agency applied for this funding with the RCAC’s help. The award will allow HOPE to streamline its free counseling process and expand its triage program, and increase staffing for intake and Guidance and Assistance.

    

In April 2007, HOPE initiated the Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline (MHCH) at 888 388 HOPE (4673), with the support of City Council President Eric Garcetti. The steady demand along with additional support from Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa has facilitated program expansion to cover homeowners throughout California.

  

To date, HOPE has helped more than 8,396 homeowners seeking assistance, while call-center records show more than 23,000 calls have been received. Homeowner Blanca Chavez, a client of MHCH, understands first-hand the extent of the foreclosure nightmare. 

  

“I was convinced we’d have to give up our home,” said Chavez about possibly losing their family residence. “Then I called the Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline and was able to get the help I needed. An assigned representative helped resolve the ballooning interest rate and work with the lender to come up with a monthly payment I could manage. I could not have done it alone.” 

  

For thirty years, RCAC has worked on behalf of communities with populations fewer than 50,000 to provide access to services which include environmental, housing, community development and low-interest loan programs. The organization is built on five fundamental principles that incorporate quality, respect, integrity, cooperation and commitment as a core belief. Through this initiative, RCAC will work with partners, like HOPE to help keep the homeowners in their homes throughout California.

  

"Mortgage counselors are critical to keeping Californians in their homes," said Stan Keasling, RCAC chief executive officer. "This grant will allow Operation HOPE along with other California organizations to increase staffing and services, so that they can meet increasing demands for help. We are pleased to support their efforts through this funding.” 

  

Fred Smith, HOPE’s Director for its emergency preparedness and recovery division, HOPE Coalition , advises homeowners to be proactive. “Homeowners experiencing mortgage payment challenges should call the Mortgage Crisis Hotline for counseling solutions at 888 388 HOPE (4673). Avoiding the problem only compounds it,” Smith emphasizes. “Working with an experienced professional versus trying to do it on your own can be the difference between keeping your home and losing it.”  

 

About California Housing Finance Agency 

For over 30 years, California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) has supported the needs of renters and first-time homebuyers by providing financing and programs that create safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for individuals within specified income ranges. Established in 1975, CalHFA was chartered as the state’s affordable housing bank to make low-rate loans through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. A completely self-supporting state agency, bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars. For more information, visit www.calhfa.ca.gov/  

 

About Rural Community Assistance Corporation 

Rural Community Assistance Corporation was founded on October 1, 1978 and has 35 field offices in the 13-Western state service region. Headquartered in Sacramento, California the organization is a nonprofit dedicated to assisting rural communities achieve their goals and visions by providing training, technical assistance and access to resources. For more information, go to www.rcac.org.