Foreclosures rising but help is available

Mississippi Public Broadcasting
Published by Daniel Cherry

After years of decline, foreclosures are again on the rise across the country. MPB’s Daniel Cherry reports how even though Mississippi remains less impacted than most states, residents facing foreclosure have a tough road ahead.

Mississippi ranked 44th in the nation for foreclosures in 2011, but that doesn’t mean much for those fearing the loss of their home.

“Several years ago, my wife lost her job. It was a hardship for both of us.”

That’s Ronald from Jackson. He only wanted to be recognized by his first name, but he says since his family fell on tough times he’s had to get a second job to keep up with mortgage payments. Phaedra Robinson with the Mississippi Center for Justice says residents like Ronald have options.

“Seek help. That’s one of the things so many people don’t do. They’re afraid to let people know or ashamed. There’s no reason to be ashamed. This is a national problem. It’s not just people in Mississippi. It’s not just people in your community. It’s people everywhere, and there are resources available to assist you through this process.”

Andy Blake with the Jackson Housing and Urban Development office says HUD can work with residents and, hopefully, keep them in their homes.

“Some of them are programs that help reduce their house payment or temporarily suspend it until they can get back on their feet. And then there’s loan modifications that are available where the lender can lower their interest rate. That should reduce their monthly mortgage payments.”

Remember Ronald. He came to a foreclosure assistance workshop yesterday to learn about loan modification. He wants his monthly payments lowered to meet his family’s income.

“I’m going to have to do some paperwork, stay in touch with them. After that they’re going to let me know about permanent loan modification. Then I won’t have to work hard with the 2nd job and I can spend more time with the family.”

Leading housing market watcher RealtyTrac predicts foreclosures will jump 25% nationwide in 2012.