Monday, February 9, 2009

Division of Housing to Receive $500,000 for Foreclosure Prevention


Gov. Bill Ritter today joined Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to announce a $6 million settlement with Countrywide Financial Corp. that will assist Coloradans facing foreclosure. Gov. Ritter and Rep. Mark Ferrandino also announced that a foreclosure-deferment bill will be introduced this week.

“During this time of global economic crisis, it’s critical that we provide relief to homeowners who are already caught up in the foreclosure process, and that we prevent additional foreclosures in the future,” Gov. Ritter said. “The Countrywide settlement and the foreclosure-deferment bill will help Colorado accomplish both of those goals by keeping families from losing their homes and the American dream.”

The $6 million Countrywide settlement stems from allegations by the Attorney General’s Office that Countrywide and its affiliates marketed and offered subprime and other high-risk loans. The settlement will provide direct and immediate financial assistance to borrowers who are in default or facing foreclosure. An estimated 6,800 Colorado homeowners will benefit.

The settlement also provides $500,000 to the Colorado Division of Housing’s Foreclosure Hotline (1-877-601-HOPE) for continued operation and expansion of one of the nation’s best foreclosure-prevention programs. The hotline has helped thousands of homeowners stave off foreclosure by connecting them with certified mortgage counselors and other resources.

The foreclosure deferment bill – touted in Gov. Ritter’s Jan. 8 State of the State Address and sponsored by Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. Morgan Carroll – will extend a 90-day foreclosure timeout to qualified homeowners so they can renegotiate their mortgages and craft new payment plans.

“This bill will require borrowers and lenders to take and share responsibility,” Rep. Ferrandino said. “It will help responsible borrowers get back on track, stay in their homes and hold onto the American dream.”

“No state funding is used toward projects or programs related to the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline, and these funds are vital to supporting its operation. I want to thank our Division of Housing for all their work with the partner agencies on this critical service,” said Susan Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, which oversees the Division of Housing.