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Web site is new tool in battle against foreclosure

By Maria Jose Subirias

msubiria@news-daily.com

Clayton County residents, who may be facing the threat of foreclosure, now have a new tool to help them deal with the crisis. And it is as close as logging onto the internet.

A new web site -- www.ccfrc.com -- that launched on Jan. 15, contains helpful information on workshops, counseling, as well as a hotline number people can call to get more information on foreclosure issues.

The web site belongs to the Clayton County Foreclosure Resource Center, which is a partnership of several non-profit organizations in the county, and is funded by the Clayton County Housing Authority.

"We wanted to provide, in an unbiased way, the community with agencies that would help them solve their foreclosure problems," said Chris Wood, a public-relations representative for the Housing Authority, who said he was charged with making the web site a reality.

"We'll have the capability to, ultimately, download video for workshops, have live Webinars, a photo gallery and lots of information," he said.

According to Wood, the Housing Authority put up $50,000 to fund a multi-pronged approach to dealing with the foreclosure crisis. That project includes the resource center's web site, one-on-one counseling, help hotlines, workshops and additional public education programs.

"From the $50,000 given by the Housing Authority, the web site cost a little over $9,000," Wood said.

He said the web site was the last project that was completed. The Housing Authority wanted the hotlines and workshops taken care of first, as a priority for the community.

"We started the web site in December, and it was completed in six to eight weeks," Wood said. "Now, people have the convenience of communicating to us whichever way is most comfortable for them. Whether it's in person, on the phone, or online."

While the web site was under construction, Wood said he send out direct mail to people being affected by foreclosure. The letters contained information on workshops, counseling and the hotline number. "We had a version of that cover letter displayed on the web site while it was under construction, and that's what saved us during that time," he said.

"You always design a web site from your audience's perspective, and we also wanted them to know we were a government entity," he said.

Wood said he made sure the name of the county and the Clayton County Foreclosure Resource Center were displayed on the home page, so people would relate the web site to the government.