Task Force to Address Rising Bank Foreclosure Listings

by Simon Lindsay on Foreclosure Help

With bank foreclosure listings rising every day in Hamilton County and Chattanooga in Tennessee, local officials have decided to expand assistance initiatives provided to distressed homeowners who are facing the threat of losing their homes to foreclosures.

Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey and Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield have set up a task force to address the growing problem of foreclosure in their areas. The task force is made up of area agencies that will develop new strategies to help troubled homeowners who are on the brink of losing their homes to foreclosure.

Members of the task force have partnered with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regional office to offer a housing fair that will provide resources for struggling homeowners facing foreclosure.

Industry experts said that there are many assistance programs that can help low and middle-income homeowners save their properties from bank foreclosure listings. However, many distressed homeowners hesitate to seek help until it is too late.

One of the assistance programs is the Chattanooga Foreclosure Prevention Hotline launched by the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprises (CNE), a nonprofit organization that helps distressed families purchase or renovate their homes.

David Johnson, CNE president, said that the task force and the hotline should help more struggling homeowners avoid the foreclosure process. He pointed out the need to educate distressed homeowners on the importance of responding immediately to the threat of foreclosure.

Meanwhile, Littlefield said that nonprofit agencies are offering local services to distressed homeowners. He urged them to avoid companies offering foreclosure prevention services for a fee.

On the other hand, real estate experts are concerned that with some foreclosure moratoriums coming to an end and the rise of unemployment rate, the number of properties on bank foreclosure listings will continue to increase.

In Hamilton County, 669 properties were on foreclosure in the first six months of 2009, representing a 3.2 percent increase compared with the first half of the previous year. In May, one in every 800 homeowners in the county received a notice of foreclosure.

Industry experts take solace on the data that the number of properties on local bank foreclosure listings is less than 50 percent of the national average of one in every 389 housing units.