Local News

Foreclosure fears? Raleigh program offers help

Posted April 2, 2009 12:01 a.m. EDT
Updated April 2, 2009 7:06 p.m. EDT

— "I don't understand how banking institutions can make mistakes with their finances and get help with our American tax dollars, but people that are really working hard and are trying, get absolutely no help,” said Michael Bacon, who is unemployed.

Bacon is one of the many people unemployed and struggling in the down economy.

For those who are out of a job and struggling to pay a mortgage, Save Raleigh Homes is here to help.

"If you're in trouble, even if it's 30 days or less and you know you're about to lose your job, contact Save Raleigh Homes," said James Stroud, vice president-mortgage division at Raleigh Area Development Authority.

With an easy-to-follow traffic signal terminology, Save Raleigh Homes' referral guide, Web site and toll-free hot line are helping homeowners maneuver over economic bumps.

A green light might mean you still have a paycheck. So for now, you can still make the mortgage on time.

A yellow light might signal the cautionary tale of subprime mortgages that have caused people to careen off into foreclosure.

A red light might represent people like Bacon, afraid of a crash. Those people have lost their jobs and are in desperate need of help, so they don't lose their homes.

"If it's a red light, you definitely need to get busy and try to figure out how you're going to save your home. We have ideas, options and solutions for that,” said Lillian Thompson, Southeast Raleigh Assembly coordinator with the Raleigh Planning Department.

With predatory lenders and get-out-of-debt quick scams, many people automatically throw on the hazards when they hear about help programs.

"Yesterday, I had an individual who came in and she refused to sign documents because there's so much media now about scams,” Stroud said.

However, Save Raleigh Homes has the backing of the City of Raleigh.

We are a "non-for-profit organization and we are an economic community development organization created by the city of Raleigh," Stroud said.

Save Raleigh Homes gathers information and works with reputable agencies.

"We worked with the commissioner of banks, with the state, (and) they've made recommendations on some of the best agencies to work with. And for refinancing, we're working with a non-profit called the Raleigh Area Development Authority," Thompson said.

About 300 people have been helped by Save Raleigh Homes since it launched in October, officials said.

"If you are in trouble, do not sit back. Please, please, please take an initiative to do a little homework to find out where the resources are that can help you,” Thompson said.

The toll-free number for Save Raleigh Homes is 1-877-900-2345. If you don't live in Raleigh, don't worry. Most of the information and groups listed can help, no matter where you live.