[r51] Dodge's Column (2/8/2008)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Start Date: 2/8/2008 All Day
End Date: 2/8/2008
(STATEHOUSE) Feb. 8, 2008 - Foreclosure has become a serious problem affecting a growing number of Homeowners. Nearly one in four Indiana homes are at risk of foreclosure. Across America, almost 1 million families are threatened with the loss of their homes each year, and nationwide the rate of foreclosure has increased about 75 percent.

This crisis is not just affecting investors, it affects all taxpayers and has already cost half a million dollars in taxpayer revenue. The Indiana General Assembly has recognized this, and is working to pass legislation to help prevent Hoosiers from facing this terrifying and stressful situation.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1360, which helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. The bill would add services to support those homeowners with mortgage troubles and questions, in addition to requiring mortgage lenders to better inform customers and make information more transparent and available to mortgage customers and the general public.

While I would like to see mortgage companies held to a higher standard of ethics and care for Hoosiers seeking to own their own home, I believe this bill is a step in the right direction.

The bill is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate.

If you are currently facing foreclosure or are falling behind on your mortgage payments, you can access free, unbiased information and counseling by contacting the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN). IFPN is a public-private partnership of community-based organizations, government agencies, lenders, realtors and trade associations that have developed an approach to Indiana's foreclosure problem.

To get help, you can log onto http://www.877gethope.org/ or call 1-877-GET-HOPE, any day of the week between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 8 P.M. All information will be kept secure and confidential.

Foreclosures can happen to anyone at anytime. There are ways to get help, and I encourage anyone who needs help to contact the IFPN. As always, you can always contact my office. I can be reached by phone at 1-800-382-9841, by e-mail at h51@iga.in.gov or by mail at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.