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Congressman Scott working to prevent foreclosures

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Jeyln White

jwhite@news-daily.com

For Georgia homeowners, desperately looking for ways to keep from losing their homes in this tough economy, U.S. Rep. David Scott -- in conjunction with the U.S. Treasury Department, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- will host a two-day education-and-information event in June.

The "Help for Homeowners" initiative, said Scott, is clearly needed right now. "It's a very serious issue in Clayton County, and it breaks my heart to see people loosing their homes because of a lack on information," said Scott.

Scott said the event provides free opportunities for homeowners to meet one-on-one with mortgage lenders and housing counselors for mortgage assistance. "We hope we can put a stop light on the situation, and have people come and get the immediate help they need to stay in their homes," he said.

Clayton County, he said, has the highest foreclosure rate of any county in his (the 13th) district. He added that a lot has to do with people not knowing about all of the programs and resources available to help them out, with such things as loan payments and loan modifications.

"That's why this event is so important," he said. "I wanted to get everyone under one roof, the banks, myself, HUD and the U.S Department of Treasury, and I hope that my presence, and HUD's, will help to influence the decision of the banks in modifying loans, to make them more affordable for homeowners."

Scott said there is a $50 billion federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), gained through the support of President Barack Obama, that offers assistance in re-structuring loan payments, so they are more affordable.

So far, he said, 298 homeowners in Clayton County have been saved from going into foreclosure, largely due to the resources offered through his office and available assistance programs. "One thing for certain, if you are having trouble, I want people to know you can get help, and your congressman has the resources to help you," said Scott.

"This event has allowed me to step out of the box from just handling people who come into my office. Now I can help people in the whole metro area."

Maya Johnson-Duboise, constituent services representative for Scott, works closely with clients in foreclosure cases. "I act as the liaison, on the constituent's behalf, when communicating with the banks," she said. "We assist them through the whole process. I pretty much cut through the red tape and get to the people concerning their case," said Duboise.

Scott said homeowners, who decide to attend the event, should bring the following documentation:

* A monthly mortgage statement;

* Information about other mortgages on their home;

* Two most recent pay stubs for all household members contributing toward the mortgage;

* Documentation of income received from other sources (alimony, child support, social security);

* Three most recent bank statements;

* A utility bill showing the homeowner's name and property address;

* Unemployment insurance letter;

* If self-employed, the most recent quarterly or year-to-date profit-and-loss statement, and two years of tax returns.

"This is going to be a very good event, and I encourage all who can attend, to come," said Duboise. The two-day event will kick off Friday, June, 17, at 11 a.m., and last until 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, June, 18, it will run from 9 a.m., to 3 p.m. It will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center, at 2000 Convention Center Concourse, in College Park.

For a complete listing of all the banks participating, and more information about the event, visit: www.davidscott.house.gov, or call 1-888-995 HOPE (4673).