Pennsylvania Unemployment Office PA help and advice Wed, 02 Dec 2009 01:36:09 +0000 en hourly 1 PA Mortgage Help Wed, 02 Dec 2009 01:36:09 +0000 admin Mortgage Help in Philadelphia, PA

800pxPhilly skyline thumb PA Mortgage Help If you live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and face foreclosure, there may be help available to you to help you stay in your home. Other cities–Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Chicago–are examining the program and have adopted similar programs. People on the verge of foreclosure, who have lived in their homes for years but face their homes being sold by the sheriff’s office, have been helped by the local Philadelphia program.

Philadelphia’s primary civil court requires anyone who is faced with foreclosure and who is living in his house to become involved in a "conciliation conference." The conference is a face to face meeting that attempts to work out a compromise between the homeowner and lender. Every homeowner is given counseling, and many are given legal representation.

One man, Christopher Hall, 42, a union roofer faced foreclosure, and he was certain he was going to have to sign over the deed to his house to the lender, Bank of America. The bank had threatened to sell his house at a sheriff’s auction. The contractor that had employed Hall went broke and laid off 40 people, including Hall. He has not worked since August, 2008 and had not made a mortgage payment in more than a year.

Kristine A Phillips became Hall’s volunteer lawyer. She worked out a deal with Bank of America’s lawyer to leave Hall alone for six weeks. During that period of time, the housing counselor for Hall would pursue negotiations in an attempt to lower his mortgage payments permanently. Hall thanked Phillips and said she had taken "a lot of weight" off his shoulders.

City Councilor John M. Tobin of Boston is planning to introduce legislation in his city to create a program modeled after that in Philadelphia. He said the program works because it brings the homeowner and the lender to the table, and when people meet face to face, "it can be pretty disarming."

The court system automatically schedules a conciliation hearing for those homeowners who have received legal default notices from their mortgage companies. To make homeowners who may be facing foreclosure aware of the program, canvassers who work for local nonprofit agencies, distribute fliers about the program to homeowners facing foreclosure. Homeowners are urged to call a hotline to talk to free housing counselors and are told of their rights under the program.

Anna Hargrove, a canvasser in West Philadelphia, says she can sense "relief" from homeowners, just because they now have someone to talk to when they are facing foreclosure.
Conciliation Conferences are scheduled in the City Hall in Philadelphia, on the sixth floor, every Thursday morning. Volunteer lawyers are present. Lawyers working for the mortgage companies are there too. Those facing foreclosure are there–some of them construction workers in overalls, some of them the elderly with canes, some of them parents, who have their children with them.
Deals worked out can include lower monthly payments for borrowers, or cash for leaving the property, if a homeowner can’t afford payments at even a modified rate.

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