In the summer edition of North Bank Magazine, which will be released on Friday, there is a story about the continuing problem of foreclosures in Southwest Washington by writer Jodie Gilmore. Many local resources are available for those facing foreclosure, as well as the Foreclosure Fairness Act, a Washington bill that was signed into law on April 14. If you or someone you know is considering foreclosure, read on….
Foreclosure Fairness Act
The Foreclosure Fairness Act attempts to reduce much of the frustration experienced by homeowners trying to communicate with their banks about mortgage modifications and foreclosure procedures. Its aim is to stem the flow of foreclosures in the state.
“Right now, communication isn’t happening on both sides,” said Alex Kamaunu, executive director and counselor at the Family Financial Resource Center (FFRC) in Longview, which helps Cowlitz and neighboring county residents with mortgage default issues.
Advocates of the bill, said Kamaunu, simply want lenders to take Washington state homeowners and their problems seriously.
Among other things, the law:
- Requires lenders to communicate early in the foreclosure process to give homeowners the best opportunities to get help from a HUD-approved foreclosure counseling agency.
- Outlines a mediation process.
- Establishes a $250 fee on each notice of default, payable by the lender. The fee will primarily fund more housing counselors.
HUD-approved foreclosure counseling agencies:
- Community Housing Resource Center (Vancouver) – serves Clark County and northwest Oregon. 360-690-449
- Family Finance Resource Center (Longview) – serves several counties, including Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, and Pacific. 360-423-9197
The following organizations can help with other financial issues, such as credit counseling, utility bill vouchers, home repairs, etc.
- Financial Independence Center (Longview) — serves Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. 360-425-343
- Clark County Community Action Program (Vancouver) — serves Clark county. 360-397-2130
- Washington Gorge Action Programs. Serves counties in the Columbia Gorge. 509-493-2662
- Coastal Community Action Program. Serves counties on the Pacific coast. 800-828-4883
On the web