Foreclosures in Detroit Contained Thru County Web Portal

by Peter Vernon on cities

Foreclosures in Detroit are being contained by local government and nonprofit officials through a web portal recently launched by Wayne County, where Detroit is the county seat.

The web portal, fightmortgageforeclosure.com, was created by the technology staff of Wayne County and was designed to link troubled homeowners with service providers that can assist them save their homes from foreclosure property sales.

To enable the web portal to reach out to distressed homeowners outside of Wayne County, the Southeast Michigan Regional Foreclosure Intervention and Neighborhood Stabilization Collaborative teamed up with Wayne County to carry out intervention programs in other counties such as Washtenaw and Macomb, Oakland using the web portal.

According to Robert Ficano, chief executive of Wayne County, he is pleased that the system developed by his county staff is able to help the entire region and help curb Michigan foreclosures. In response, Mike Brennan, CEO and president of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, said he is grateful for the system developed by Wayne County.

United Way was the nonprofit that spearheaded the formation of the Southeast Michigan collaborative two years ago. The collaborative is comprised by 40 members that represent entities working against foreclosures in Detroit and other parts of the region. It includes representatives from Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association, Greenpath, Fannie Mae, Detroit Real Estate Brokers Association and Michigan State University.

In 2009, over 65,000 households in Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw and Macomb were notified of delinquency and foreclosure, but only about half sought help to save their homes from foreclosure. Many of them thought their situation was hopeless and allowed the foreclosure process to progress until their homes get into the hands of people buying foreclosure auction properties.

According to Charles Pugh, president of the Detroit City Council, he understands why many families do not seek help because he himself has mortgage problems. Nevertheless, he is encouraging distressed families to fight for their homes and seek free assistance through the web portal.

Wayne County chief executive Ficano said that the county counseled 1,500 families in 2009 and was able to keep 500 families in their homes. The web portal not only links borrowers to service providers; it also tracks the delivery of services and monitors the results.

The pace of foreclosures in Detroit rose last year to over 69,000 filings, including postings in Warren and Livonia. The number represented 3.64 percent of all residential units in the metro area.

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