Friday, January 29, 2010

Caught up in the wave of foreclosures?

Last Monday, 14 of the 20 Mecklenburg homeowners scheduled for a foreclosure hearing before Cameron Scott actually showed up.

That was the highest rate of attendance the Mecklenburg County assistant clerk of court recalls having at the hearings - one of the last stops on the road to foreclosure. Used to be, no more than 15 percent of people came, said Scott, one of three attorneys who run the hearings.

More people are coming because they are more likely to know that, even at the last minute, they can stave off foreclosure. Some know because they read about it in The Observer. I know this because when I talk with people worried about losing their homes, they often show me one or more stories I’ve written about how to stop foreclosures.

But then I hear the process hasn’t worked for them. Or they didn’t call soon enough. Or they have more questions.

Here at the Observer, we began writing about the foreclosure problem long before it was recognized nationally, before it helped bring down the economy. That news coverage continues. With this blog, we’re reaching out in a new way.

Are you struggling to get a mortgage modification? We want to hear from you.

Were you able to get a modification? We want to hear your success story.

Are foreclosures hurting your community? Tell us about it.

Is it your job to help people save their homes? We want to hear your tips for what works.

We want to be a resource for linking people with the help they need. We also hope this blog becomes a place for sharing not only stories of struggling homeowners but also ideas about how to solve a problem that touches everyone. Sometimes, we’ll do all our talking in this space. Other times, your stories will also run in the newspaper.

Please join us.

Coming Sunday in The Observer: Read MoneyWise for the stories of three struggling homeowners and a discussion of whether foreclosure prevention programs are a good idea.