Counseling group criticizes foreclosure-help hotline
At one point, 26 percent of the calls to the Hotline were abandoned. Homeowners whose calls were answered were frequently given minimal counseling or simply told to call their mortgage lenders.
I heard this complaint from a Midwestern homeowner, too, as it happens.
I looked for a response from the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, which runs the hotline, but it may be a while before I hear back. It says on its website that it generally needs 24 hours to respond to media inquiries. (No, I'm not going to insert a joke here. Honestly.) The hotline is getting a lot of calls because President Bush has pointed struggling homeowners there.
This is as good a time as any to remind folks in trouble on mortgages that if you need help and don't get it in one place, it doesn't hurt to try another.
UPDATE at 12:45: The Homeownership Preservation Foundation has responded with a statement that calls the NFCC's accusations "false and misleading." The preservation foundation said it is reviewing its legal options.
It said its counselors are doing real counseling -- an hour on average to 19,558 homeowners in January. It said the remainder of the callers had "other questions which included: questions about the rate freeze program, calls on behalf of family and friends, inquiries about grant funds, basic information about the HOPE hotline, calls from brokers and realtors, etc."