HARTFORD – Many homeowners struggling to stave off foreclosure in today’s shrinking economy gathered up their paperwork Saturday and headed to the Connecticut Convention Center for private consultation with financial experts hoping to lend them a hand.
Bringing together hard-pressed buyers and mortgage loan providers for face-of-face talks about how best to resolve tough situations, the Foreclosure Prevention Workshop sought to help people avoid losing their homes.
The event was off-limits to the press and a few people leaving politely declined the chance to talk about it.
But Saleed Khoury of Stamford said his cousin came because her husband lost his job and wanted to explore options to keep their house. Khoury said the family was trying to round up enough cash to give his cousin’s family time to find another position that paid well enough.
He said he appreciated that there are organizations and government officials who are doing what they can, too.
Organizers of the event said that they tried to provide advice that might make it possible for people to remain in their homes.
Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, HOPE NOW and NeighborWorks America, the workshop was part of a growing effort by housing activists and the government to stem the tide of foreclosures that has battered some communities.
Faith Schwartz, executive director of the HOPE NOW Alliance, said in a prepared statement that in the 15 months ending in September that “more than 20,200 Connecticut residents avoided foreclosure because of our efforts, but we know there is still more to be done.”
According to RealtyTrac, there were 387 foreclosures in Hartford County, second only to New Haven County’s tally in Connecticut.
In Bristol, there are 93 properties currently in default, according to RealtyTrac, most of them private homes. New Britain has 272 properties in foreclosure, the company’s website shows.
While the numbers in Central Connecticut are well short of the crisis in some communities across the country, they are up from the historically normal rates. They are, however, down significantly from the foreclosure rates a year ago, according to RealtyTrac.
Data from the Warren Group in Boston indicates that the hardest hit parts of Connecticut for foreclosures are Bridgeport, New Haven and New London. Even Hartford, which is among the worst in this region, has only half the foreclosure rates of New London.
Experts say, too, that for every house in foreclosure, there are a number of families struggling to hang on.
“We know that families facing foreclosure are in crisis mode and they need neutral, expert guidance to help them understand their options,” Kenneth D. Wade, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America, said in a prepared statement.
Foreclosure rates last year
New London – 33.1
New Haven – 21.4
Bridgeport – 21.3
Hartford – 17.4
Waterbury – 16.8
New Britain – 12.5
Source: The Warren Group, based on number of foreclosures per 1,000 properties
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