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September 18, 2012

A new wave of help and hope is on the way to struggling homeowners this month as non-profit organizations across Washington are set to receive millions of dollars in grants to fund foreclosure relief programs.

On August 27, I joined members of my Consumer Foreclosures Remedies Fund (CFRF) Committee to announce that 13 Washington non-profit organizations will share in the $43.8 million our state has received from the landmark $25 billion national settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers. 

After serving on the executive team negotiating this settlement, I asked experts from a variety of backgrounds to serve on our selection committee to ensure the dollars Washington received would provide the greatest benefit to the most families across our state.  Our committee received requests for more than three times the amount of funds available— a true testament to the great work already being done in our state to help homeowners and borrowers through this crisis.

Organizations providing direct mortgage relief receive $18 million

The Committee reviewed proposals in six key areas and worked to ensure the funds were balanced across the state, reaching all corners of Washington.  They granted the largest chunk of the funds—more than $18 million-- to organizations with plans to provide direct mortgage relief to consumers. 

The Legal Foundation of Washington’s Home Justice project will receive roughly $13 million to provide legal representation for the more than 30,000 low and moderate income people who are expected to face foreclosure in the coming years, or who were among the more than 135,000 households whose homes were foreclosed upon in recent years.

The Lifelong AIDS Alliance will also receive $2 million for work up and down the I-5 corridor, addressing the housing foreclosure crisis for individuals or families with chronic conditions or special needs.  The grant will fund the Alliance’s Lifelong Housing Safety Net Program, which will focus in South King County, while serving 13 counties.

The Committee also allocated:

  • More than $4.8 million for anti-blight projects in Tacoma, Seattle and parts of King County
  • $4.1 million for foreclosure counseling projects
  • $2 million to Resolution Washington to support the Washington Foreclosure Mediation Program and provide training for volunteer foreclosure mediators
  • $1.26 million to two other organizations for outreach and awareness efforts

Millions more reaching Coastal, Eastern and Central Washington homeowners

The Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners (SNAP) Foreclosure Prevention Program will receive more than $3 million to assist homeowners.  SNAP intends to prevent 500 foreclosures over the next five years by expanding current service capacity and reaching out to underserved homeowners.

In Central Washington, Catholic Charities Housing Services will receive $395,563 to increase in-house staff to assist homeowners, and to establish a public outreach campaign to provide information to the public, especially low-income homeowners facing foreclosure. The campaign will be designed to inform Spanish and English speakers, and other targeted audiences most in need of additional resources and assistance.

El Centro de la Raza will receive $600,000 for its Comprehensive Counseling and Education Services for Latinos Impacted by the Foreclosure Crisis.  This program will support Latino borrowers who need loan modifications, principal reductions and refinancing, as well as assist Latino tenants or proprietors of rental properties at risk of foreclosure.

NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County will receive $2 million for their Homeowner Rescue and Recovery Project.  The funds will help mitigate the effects of foreclosure in eight counties, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Jefferson, Clallam, Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum, and Cowlitz.  NeighborWorks will use their grant to fund loans to qualified homeowners who have suffered a hardship and are in mortgage default.  The loan products will be either a “rescue loan” to bring a mortgage current and allow the homeowner to resume existing payments, or a “refinance loan” to achieve an affordable payment.  Homeowners in mortgage default who reside in any of these counties can call toll free 1-866-533-7828 for more information.

Learn more about where the money will go

Here’s an in-depth look at all of the programs being funded by the grants, as well as a snapshot of distribution areas around the state.

Recipients will receive funds upon signing contracts with the Attorney General’s Office, outlining accountability and reporting requirements.

These grants are just another way this historic state-federal settlement can help families across Washington save their homes or restore their lives. I commend all of the organizations who applied for this funding and thank them for their work to help homeowners and borrowers.

Mortgage Settlement Monitor issues first report

On August 30, the Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement issued his first progress report, covering a preliminary period from March 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012.  Keeping in mind that this is a very early report from the banks, it does contain some good news and promising trends.  According to the report, as of June 30, consumers had received more than $10 billion in principal relief nationally under the settlement, including at least $219 million in Washington.  The report also shows a substantial amount of principal reduction relief – over $3 billion - in the pipeline. 

The next report is set to be issued in November, and I’ll share the latest news as it becomes available.  Meanwhile, consumers and their advocates are encouraged to report their experiences to the Monitor, so please visit www.mortgageoversight.com if you have information to share.

I look forward to continued progress both here in Washington and across the country as banks work to help homeowners.  As always, our website is loaded with referrals and information on help for homeowners and we are urging anyone facing foreclosure to seek help immediately.

‪Sincerely,

Rob McKenna
Attorney General


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