Save Your Home Philly Hotline

February 19, 2009 2:07:46 PM PST
Inside Courtroom 676 at Philadelphia City Hall, homes and families are saved from foreclosure every Thursday.Sally Brown is counting on the power of Courtroom 676 to help save her home and her dignity.

"Everyday I think somebody's going to come and put me out of my home," Brown said.

Thousands have entered the room with the same fear, including Jean Ruffin.

"It worried me a lot, I started praying," Ruffin said.

676 is not your traditional court of law.

Here homeowners and lenders are required to try to make deals, a loan modification, or plan that satisfies both parties.

"Lenders are working out deals they never would have worked out a couple years ago; they don't want all these houses and they're reducing payments and interest rates," John Dodds of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project said.

Housing counselors, as well as volunteer attorneys and judges, help and intervene when necessary.

Judge Annette Rizzo started this foreclosure prevention court and signs off on the deals made here.

Now, coming to this court of last resort is a mandatory step before any owner-occupied home in Philadelphia is put up for sheriff's sale.

The program has been place since June of 2008, but already more than 800 homes have been saved.

Courtroom 676 is now a model for the country.

As for the Browns, their foreclosure has been postponed to give them more time to work with their lender.

"I think it's helping us a lot because there's so much we don't understand," Brown said.

Jean's mortgage company has already forgiven her entire mortgage.

"It was a miracle for me to save my house, really," Ruffin said.

If you're facing foreclosure, call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-HOME.

A FREE housing counselor will help you.

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