Duluth, LSS Partner to Prevent Home Foreclosure

By KBJR News 1

August 29, 2013 Updated Aug 29, 2013 at 10:42 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Minnesota's housing market is slowly recovering from the foreclosure crisis.

Yet from January to July this year, more than 300 people have entered foreclosure in Duluth.

A partnership between Duluth and Lutheran Social Service is working to prevent home foreclosures.

It's an encouraging sign statewide.

In the second quarter of 2013, nearly 6,600 homeowners received pre-foreclosure notices.

That's a 34 percent drop from the almost 10,000 notices sent out at the same time last year.

"It's really important that people remember that even with foreclosure rates going down, the impact on individual families who are facing foreclosure is really the same as it's always been," Dan Williams, a Financial Counselor with LSS said.

In Duluth, any homeowner who receives a pre-foreclosure notice will also receive a letter, signed personally by Duluth Mayor Don Ness and Williams encouraging them to contact a foreclosure prevention counselor.

"It captures people's attention,” Mayor Ness said. “It lets folks know that there is help available and that we as a community care about what happens, and hope that the person can stay in their home."

Waiting limits your options.

Many Duluthians have been able to keep their homes by working with their lenders and LSS early in the process.

"Most people are very relieved just to get help with that basic information and attempting to figure out what kind of options they have with the Making Home Affordable Program or working with their lenders," Malcolm Johannessen, a Certified Housing Counselor with LSS said.

Foreclosure is a public process, so it's easy for scammers to access your records and target you through e-mail or phone.

Experts at LSS say borrowers should never pay up front to get assistance from a consultant.

"If you've paid for foreclosure rescue, get help now,” Williams said. “Don't just sort of freeze because you are embarrassed about it. We want people to seek help.”

Seek safe help and contact a financial counselor at Lutheran Social Service.

You can also call 800-777-7419.

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