Philly helping residents facing foreclosure

February 3, 2009 3:54:49 PM PST
The experts say our economic calamity began with a crisis in the housing market. Now, the City of Philadelphia is touting its efforts on behalf of hurting homeowners.

Tuesday, Mayor Michael Nutter celebrated a fund-raising effort for a six-month-old city-run program that works to prevent foreclosures.

"603 families who were headed to foreclosure are now safely in their homes this afternoon," Mayor Nutter said.

$275,000 has been raised from private groups including banks. The money may be used to air a public service announcement, and keep a hotline call center open.

The program uses Judge Annette Rizzo's courtroom. The goal is to find a solution that prevents a foreclosure.

"The sense I get is that lenders are willing to, through their attorneys, to really open things up, to have dialogue that would work that would keep people in homes," Judge Rizzo said.

The good news: The Philadelphia region trails most other parts of the country in the percentage of homes in foreclosure.

That said, counseling services like one on North Broad Street say the number of people it sees has doubled in the last year.

Queenie Custis says, the adjustable rate home equity loan for her row home jumped from $628/month to more than $1,100/month.

"I dont' want to lose my home," Custis said. "My mom had it since 1967."

The mayor's message: The city wants to do all it can to head off foreclosures.

Officials are urging anyone facing home loan problems to call 215-334-HOME

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