Help for those facing foreclosure

February 19, 2009 2:35:07 PM PST
A rally highlighting the plight of homeowners facing foreclosure was held in Southeastern Queens. Myrna Millington, 74, has lived in her house for 38 years. She got a loan for repairs, but the note ballooned to payments of 3-thousand dollars a month. She is 10 months behind on her mortgage.

"I am not leaving my home. I am staying right here," she said.

Myrna is just one example of what's happening all over this part of the city. More and more homes for sale and others simply abandoned.

The neighborhood around South Jamaica and St. Albans is the area hit hardest by home foreclosure crisis. Six thousand homes were foreclosed in Queens last year, and this year will likely be worse.

The president is offering a ray of hope to 9-million Americans in debt, struggling to keep their home.

"I think yes, it is going to reach some, but clearly he indicated it's not going to reach all," Rep. Greg Meeks said.

Congressman Meeks hopes Obama's plan will help people such as Myrna, but it might not.

For those with horrible credit or no job, Obama's plan might not offer much. That's why Meeks met with religious leaders to organize what he calls a soft-landing. It's a plan for those who can't get federal help.

"Figure out how you can get them out of their house, preserve as much credit as they have left so that they can become a renter and not become a homeless person," Meeks said.

Yet between what the Obama plan offers and help from community groups, there is reason to hope.

Denise Parker saw her mortgage payments jump from 3 to 5 thousand dollars a month. Her home was to be auctioned on Friday, but late Wednesday came word of a delay -- time to reorganize and hold on.

"I am so happy. There's a big pressure off my shoulder. I didn't know what was going to happen to me," she said.

Probably the best place to start if you're facing foreclosure problems in NYC is call 311. They can guide you to the right organizations, specifically Neighborhood Housing Services. The website is

Also, ACORN Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has loan counselors and a hotline offering help. The hotline number is 347-410-5894. The regular number is 718-246-7900.

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