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There are options to avoid foreclosure

Despite a few recent headlines hinting at the beginning of a housing recovery, the reality is that thousands of homeowners in Clackamas County continue to struggle with their mortgage payments, have fallen behind, or are already facing foreclosure.

Homeowners often don’t know where to turn for assistance, or become discouraged by unsuccessful and frustrating attempts to work with their lender. It is critically important for homeowners who are facing or are at risk of foreclosure to know that there are options and resources available for them.

The first and most important resource is a network of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that provide struggling homeowners with unbiased information, expertise and coaching services, all free of charge. Foreclosure counseling is a valuable and under-utilized resource, and is available in Clackamas County through NEDCO (Neighborhood Economic Development Corp.). Our nonprofit agency has highly trained and certified coaches who can help homeowners evaluate their financial situation, understand the options available, and outline the next steps to move forward. For homeowners pursuing a modification, we can assist with submitting the application and negotiating with lenders.

One thing we know for certain is that foreclosure counseling works. Recent studies conducted by HUD and the Urban Institute found that borrowers in foreclosure are significantly more likely to become current on their mortgage payments when they receive foreclosure counseling. They also are more likely to receive a loan modification (and their modified payment is an average of $267 less) than homeowners who apply without the assistance of a foreclosure counselor. And while our ultimate goal is to promote successful homeownership, there are also times when transitioning from your home is the best option; regardless, NEDCO is here to help homeowners navigate the process.

In 2012, the Oregon Legislature passed a mediation program for homeowners who are either facing nonjudicial foreclosure or are at risk of default. Although the program faced several hurdles in its first year — including an Appeals Court ruling that shifted most foreclosures from nonjudicial to judicial, as well as general lender noncompliance with at risk mediations — a bill introduced in the current session aims to solve both issues and finally bring much needed mediation to Oregon homeowners.

In addition to foreclosure counseling and mediation, there are also federally funded programs that provide direct financial assistance to qualified homeowners. These programs are administered by the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative (oregonhomeownerhelp.org), and are designed to help homeowners keep their homes and prevent foreclosure. Homeowners either currently experiencing a financial hardship, or those still feeling the effects of a hardship are encouraged to check the website for program information.

The best way to understand and connect with potential resources in Clackamas County is to contact NEDCO. In addition to the more in-depth individual counseling, we offer introductory foreclosure-prevention workshops at least twice each month, that provide a broad overview of Oregon’s foreclosure processes and timelines and the various workout options available (including the basic qualifications for a loan modification, and the differences between a short sale and deed in lieu of foreclosure). We also offer referrals to other community resources, including legal assistance.

NEDCO is here to be a resource for Clackamas County homeowners. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a potential foreclosure, or where a homeowner is in the process, or whether a foreclosure (judicial or nonjudicial) has already begun.

If you’re unsure of where to turn for foreclosure prevention resources, contact NEDCO first by phone 503-655-8974 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We are proud to be serving Clackamas County with foreclosure prevention and support services and we look forward to providing you with trusted information and assistance.

Emily Reiman is manager for the Opportunity Works program as the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation.



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