SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — State agencies have decided to come together for a new foreclosure prevention campaign to support homeowners.
According to Oregon Housing and Community Services, the state partnership features a new website and awareness campaign to support those struggling and at risk of foreclosure. The four state agencies worked in partnership with Oregon Consumer Justice to develop this website as a central place for foreclosure prevention resources.
The mortgage foreclosure moratorium in Oregon expired in December 2021.
“With rising inflation, many households that are having trouble keeping up with living expenses may be at risk of missing a mortgage payment. Some Oregonians are not aware there may be ways to avoid foreclosure,” said the Oregon Housing and Community Services in an announcement.
Emese Perfecto, the director of the homeownership division at OHCS, said the agencies want homeowners who have fallen behind or at risk of missing a mortgage payment to know they may have options.
“It can be overwhelming to receive a letter from a mortgage company,” said Perfecto. “You are not alone. This website, which highlights certified housing counselors as a key resource, can help them find the best way to move forward.”
The focus of the campaign is to guide homeowners who are worried about being able to make their mortgage payment, or who have received a foreclosure letter from their servicer, to do one two things.
According to the press release, those impacted should call 211 to be put in contact with certified housing counselors available at homeownership centers throughout the state. Another option is to visit this website for more information.
“Housing counselors can advocate on your behalf with your mortgage servicer,” said Andrew Stolfi, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. “If you get a call or a letter from your mortgage servicer, contact a homeownership center right away. The earlier you reach out for help, the more options you will have.”
The website also has help for homeowners to avoid falling victim to fraud and connect them with legal assistance.
“As the attention on foreclosures increases, so will the foreclosure-related scams,” said Ellen M. Klem, director of Outreach and Education for the Oregon Attorney General. “It’s important for homeowners to be on the lookout and avoid falling victim. The new website and awareness campaign will provide Oregonians with the information they need to stay safe from fraud during this challenging time.”
If a homeowner has given sensitive information to a scammer and believes they are a victim of a scam, the OHCS says to do the following:
• File a police report to document the crime for their creditors. Make sure they get the report number and a copy.
• Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-438-4338 (toll-free) or here.
• Call their creditors such as their bank or credit union, credit card company, cell phone provider and other utilities, and their health insurance provider.
• File a complaint with the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation or call 888-877-4894 (toll-free).
“We know that during the subprime scandal, thousands of Oregonians were targeted by scammers with a disproportionate impact on communities of color,” said Jagjit Nagra, executive director at Oregon Consumer Justice. “Many families were displaced and have yet to recover. We want to work hard to prevent people from losing their homes due to scams.”