For Immediate Release - February 13, 2013

AG Coakley Leads Roundtable Discussion in Lowell on Foreclosure Prevention Efforts

Roundtable Focuses on HomeCorps, Local Support and Progress Since $25 Billion National Mortgage Settlement One-Year Ago

LOWELL – Attorney General Martha Coakley today joined Lowell Mayor Patrick Murphy, City Manager Bernard Lynch and local housing advocates for a roundtable discussion on foreclosure prevention efforts, including the AG’s first-in-the-nation HomeCorps program, which was established after the $25 billion national mortgage settlement was announced one year ago this week.

“We are here to take stock of what has been done so far and look at what we still need to do,” AG Coakley said. “Everyone here is working toward a common goal: helping people in Massachusetts who are facing preventable foreclosures. We want to thank everyone for their work so far, and for their continued service as we enter the second year since the settlement.”     

“The City of Lowell is excited to be able to partner with the Attorney General to support the satellite HomeCorps center with office space in our Planning Department,” Lowell City Manager Bernard Lynch said. “We believe that this program has already proven itself to be a valuable resource to our residents and also appreciate Attorney General Coakley’s willingness to come to Lowell herself to learn more about how HomeCorps can do even more to help homeowners in the City and the Greater Lowell area.”

The AG’s groundbreaking HomeCorps program started last April as a result of the national settlement involving the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers and their connection with unlawful foreclosures and loan servicing.  The settlement brought an expected $318 million in relief to Massachusetts borrowers, including a direct payment of more than $44.5 million to the Commonwealth, to help Massachusetts borrowers prevent foreclosure and stay in their homes.

HomeCorps loan modification specialists can help borrowers navigate the necessary paperwork and learn about HomeCorps’s three-part borrower support program, including loan modification support, direct legal representation and a recovery network for borrowers who have already lost their homes.

HomeCorps loan modification specialists have resolved more than 4,600 cases, prevented 427 foreclosure actions, secured more than 1,100 permanent loan modifications and achieved more than $13 million in principal reduction relief. The HomeCorps hotline has received over 15,000 calls and averages 70 calls per day.

A HomeCorps satellite office was opened at the John F. Kennedy Civic Center in Lowell in December. Borrowers and homeowners seeking mortgage or foreclosure assistance can do so in person at this satellite office between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, call the statewide HomeCorps hotline at (617) 573-5333 or submit a complaint online.

Since the program launched, HomeCorps has expanded its initiatives to directly help homeowners. These include a Borrower Representation Initiative to assist homeowners with legal issues that must first be resolved prior to a loan modification or other relief. A Borrower Recovery Initiative was also established to prevent homelessness and help borrowers stabilize and recover after the loss of home ownership due to foreclosure or after eviction that follows a foreclosure. HomeCorps also announced the opening of two satellite offices in Brockton and Lowell, offering direct, community-based assistance to communities heavily impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

In August, more than $19 million was awarded to organizations and municipalities across the Commonwealth, including funds for HomeCorps’ Municipal and Community Restoration Grants and Crisis Response Innovation Grants, designed to assist communities mitigate the impacts of the foreclosure crisis on cities and towns in Massachusetts. 

Organizations that participated in the roundtable discussion included HomeCorps grantees and organizations committed to addressing the foreclosure crisis including: Community Teamwork Inc. (Borrower Recovery Initiative Site), Greater Lawrence Community Action Council  (Borrower Recovery Initiative Site), MASSCAP (Borrower Recovery Initiative Master Grantee), Homeowner Options for Massachusetts Elders (Crisis Response Innovation Grantee), Arlington Community Trabajando, Inc. (Crisis Response Innovation Grantee), Merrimack Valley Legal Services (Legal Representation Site), Neighborhood Legal Services (Legal Representation Site), National Consumer Law Center (Legal Representation Master Grantee), Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (Legal Representation Master Grantee), The Coalition for a Better Acre, Mill Cities Community Investments, The Home Preservation Coalition of the Merrimack Valley and Lowell Foreclosure Prevention Task Force.