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Workshop to help those threatened with foreclosure

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Foreclosure Resource Center will provide its third, free workshop in three months Saturday, for area residents who may face the prospect of losing their homes.

Organizers say they are trying to reduce foreclosures in a county where the rate, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is nearly twice the state foreclosure rate. Clayton's foreclosure rate is 9.9 percent, while the state's is 5.2 percent.

The workshop, sponsored by the Clayton County Housing Authority, wil be held at the Clayton County Community Services Authority's offices, at 1000 Main St., in Forest Park, from 9 a.m., to 11 a.m.

The Foreclosure Resource Center is a coalition of government-approved credit and housing counselors, Realtors and other groups.

"We care about their struggle, and we're committed to their deliverence," said Carrie Harris, executive director and president of D & E, A Financial Education and Training Institute, Inc., which is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency participating in the workshop.

Workshop attendees will have access to group and individual counseling on preventing foreclosure. Counselors will follow up with workshop attendees.

The Foreclosure Resource Center is also planning a different workshop later on, that will focus on recovering from foreclosure, so people can get some ideas about avenues that may be open to them, after the fact.

"The main purpose is to help people who are victims of foreclosure," said James Searcy, vice chairman of the housing authority. "We want them to keep their homes, and at the same time, train and educate them," he said.

Housing Authority Chairman Carlo Musso said, as the economy has struggled, the foreclosure problem has worsened in Clayton County.

"In the last six to eight months, we've been in rescue mode, to help people in foreclosure," Musso said.

Musso said the authority set aside $50,000 to hold a number of recent foreclosure workshops, and plans to set up a web site listing foreclosure-related resources.

Harris, the counselor, said some think it's too late to save their home once they've become delinquent on their mortgage.

"A lot of people have the assumption that they can't do anything after being 30 days delinquent," she said. "[But] there is: come to us."