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Development News

Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response marshals resources to keep Detroiters in their homes

The Detroit Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response has a tough job: keeping residents in their homes during an unprecedented mortgage meltdown coupled with record unemployment. In the years 2005 to 2008, it is estimated that 51,000 1- to 4-unit residences completed the foreclosure process in the city. "It's not over yet," says Diane McCloskey, the initiative's director of community initiatives. "We're hoping we are through the worst."

To accomplish its goal the Office of Foreclosure, while working closely with banks and community funders like Skillman Foundation and Detroit LISC, aims to be the Detroit clearinghouse for all things foreclosure-related, meaning research, advocacy and relationship- and capacity-building for other community groups helping their residents avoid foreclosure.

A top priority is letting people know their options, which is where ForeclosureDetroit.org comes in. McCloskey says the website is intended to be user-friendly for people of varying levels of computer savviness. "Foreclosures affect people of all economic, racial and social backgrounds," she says. "People make assumptions that people know where to go (for help), but they have no idea where to reach out (to) -- we needed a way (to give them information) quietly, in the privacy of their own home...sitting at a friend's house or the library."

The site details resources for people in various places on the spectrum of foreclosure trouble -- from someone who hasn't even missed a mortgage payment yet to someone who has already lost their home.

Community meetings on the foreclosure issue are headed to various Detroit neighborhoods in the coming months, with planning underway for a larger summit before the end of the year.

Source: Diane McCloskey, Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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