MINNEAPOLIS, MN, January 12, 2017 — Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) this month surpassed nine million calls to its national (888) 995-HOPE (4673) Hotline from homeowners facing foreclosure, since the HOPE Hotline became integral in 2007 to the success of the federal government’s response to the housing crisis.
Although the identity of the nine millionth caller for help remains private, HPF did confirm a profile of distressed U.S. homeowners helped by HOPE Hotline counselors during the last 12 months:
- 59% women
- 28% married with dependents
- 53% minority
- 62% low-to-moderate income
- 45% reported reduction of household income / unemployment
- A 604 average credit score
- 60% 30-or-more-days-delinquent on mortgage payment
While the number of U.S. mortgages in active foreclosure has dropped below 500K for the first time in nearly 10 years, mortgages that are 30-days-delinquent began to trend upwards in the fall, according to Black Knight Financial Services. As 30-day-delinquencies become 60-day or 90-day delinquencies, the need for ongoing foreclosure-prevention guidance also increases, HPF said.
“In fact, the vast majority of HOPE Hotline callers are not yet facing imminent foreclosure. They’re responsibly calling for help before they fall too far behind. Many are experiencing difficulty connecting with their mortgage servicer or lender to get back on track. And, they’re looking to HPF as an independent, trusted resource to be their advocate to their servicer or lender, or to offer frank, unbiased advice on next steps,” said David Berenbaum, Chief Executive Officer, HPF.
More than two million homeowners who’ve called the HOPE Hotline since 2007 agreed to speak at no charge with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-certified housing counselor about how to work with a mortgage servicer or lender to modify or refinance a delinquent mortgage; figure out how to get back on schedule; or even pull out cash equity in a home sale.
Tens-of-thousands of victims of mortgage scams also called the HOPE Hotline to report illegal, up-front fees charged by con artists posing as mortgage-reduction negotiators. The HOPE Hotline passes these reports to local or national authorities for prosecution. Other homeowners called to understand how to avoid being a victim of a mortgage scam.
Many more thousands of homeowners were referred by HOPE Hotline call center representatives to local or regional resources ready to provide additional help to better manage a mortgage payment.
“Helping responsible homeowners has been the cornerstone of the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program,” said Danielle Johnson-Kutch, Chief of the Homeownership Preservation Office, U.S. Department of the Treasury.
“While the housing market has strengthened in recent years, this nine-millionth-call milestone underscores the fact that there are still many homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. The HOPE Hotline is a free and trusted resource that was vital in helping homeowners determine eligibility for the MHA program. Now that the MHA application period has sunset, the HOPE Hotline will continue to help homeowners improve their financial health, avoid foreclosure or mortgage scams,” Johnson-Kutch said.
“HPF and its network counselors have learned a great deal about how to effectively ease homeowner anxiety during difficult times, calmly focusing each borrower on a plan of action that benefits borrower and their mortgage holder. We believe the HOPE Hotline has a strong role to play in assuring continued housing and mortgage market recovery,” Berenbaum said.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s mission is to maintain a strong economy and create economic and job opportunities by promoting the conditions that enable economic growth and stability at home and abroad, strengthen national security by combating threats and protecting the integrity of the financial system, and manage the U.S. Government’s finances and resources effectively. The Making Home Affordable (MHA) program is administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As of December 30, 2016, no new applications or new requests for assistance will be accepted under any MHA program. Over the last seven years, MHA has helped over 1.8 million families obtain mortgage relief and avoid foreclosure.
About HPF Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline
HUD-certified housing counselors around the U.S. are available 24/7 to speak with distressed homeowners via the HOPE hotline in more than 200 languages. Based in Minneapolis with offices in Washington, D.C., HPF is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to guiding consumers onto the path of sustainable homeownership and improving their overall financial health. Learn more at HOPE Hotline.