Resources exist when facing foreclosure

Ever since the 2008 mortgage crisis, home foreclosures have become commonplace. Millions of people across the U.S. were hurt when the housing market crashed in 2008, and the effects are still felt today.

Learning your house is going into foreclosure can be emotional and shocking. Stay calm. If you’re in a tough situation with your mortgage payments, there are some strategies that may help.

Confront the problem

Once you realize you will have difficulty making your mortgage payments, get in touch with your lender and discuss the issue right away. Sometimes lenders will have options to help those who are financially strained.

If you’re having trouble communicating with your lender directly, speak to a Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counselor. They can act as an intermediary in the proceedings.

It is easy to shut yourself off when facing a problem that seems so monumental, but this will only exacerbate the issue. Be sure to open and respond to any mail you receive regarding your foreclosure. The mail will often include helpful information and resources about the foreclosure process.

Find help

There are many federal, state and nonprofit programs available to assist people facing foreclosure.

The Making Home Affordable (MHA) program, run by the Department of the Treasury, connects people in need with mortgage assistance options. The MHA also has tips for protecting yourself during a foreclosure by avoiding scams.

The Saint Vincent DePaul Society, Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, the United Way and Community Action Agencies are all nonprofit organizations and charities that help those having trouble paying their mortgage payments, regardless of religion.

Locally, the Georgia Department of Community affairs partners with GHFA Affordable Housing Inc. to offer mortgage assistance through a program called HomeSafe Georgia. HomeSafe Georgia offers a one-time principal reduction of $50,000 for qualifying applicants who owe more than their homes are worth. Additionally, they have a program that helps homeowners who have faced hardships catch up on past-due mortgage payments.

Consider legal counsel

When facing a financial crisis, filing for bankruptcy may be able to relieve you of all or some of your debt. Under certain circumstance, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may keep you in your home or give you time to catch up on your mortgage. Bankruptcy laws are complex, so it’s advisable to consult with an attorney to guard your best interests.

Just because you’re behind on your mortgage does not mean you automatically forfeit your rights. You have options when facing foreclosure. Do not hesitate to explore them to protect your home.

Undoubtedly, a foreclosure is a difficult time in anyone’s life. You risk losing all you worked for. But don’t lose hope – assistance is available.

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