Homeowners offered mediation program to relieve foreclosure blues

Gregg Reese | 7/20/2011, 5 p.m.

Other obstacles confronting debtors included the evaporation of accessible credit to those who need it. This, of course, is complicated by the scarcity of funding throughout the economy, as a result of the Great Recession.

That is one attractive feature of mediation--its affordability. Already initiated in Connecticut and Florida, it's been demonstrated to be free or economical for the government implementing it. Cohen continues his assessment:
"Mediation provides the servicer and homeowner a last, best chance to sit down face-to-face and talk about the terms of the loan. When they do so, our research shows that well over half the time the parties settle, meaning that not just the homeowner, but the lender itself will get more value by settling with the homeowner than it would (by initiating) foreclosure."

Proof of this appraisal comes from Orange County. Program applicants are immediately granted a 90-day stay on their foreclosure, and are put in touch with a Pro Tem judge (who acts as the third party) serving as a mediator between them and their lien-holder. Participants in this process (currently unavailable in L.A. County) report that mediation has helped more than half of the 100 or so plaintiffs who used it to keep their homes.

Peter Kuhns of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) explained that the purpose of the town hall is to advocate for the establishment of a similar program in L.A. County. In the meantime, a rally on this subject is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 18 at Los Angeles City Hall. Further information may be obtained at the alliance website (www.homedefendersleague.org), or by calling (877) 633-9251.

People needing help immediately, or parties interested in becoming involved are invited to use this contact information, as well.

Additionally, homeowners seeking assistance with this timely issue are encouraged to research Assembly Bill (AB) 1639, and Senate Bill (SB) 1275, which have been passed to utilize these alternate methods to help the thousands of Californians still impacted by the mortgage crisis.