Counseling programs for homebuyers discussed at event

August 25, 2010
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This post was written by IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger.

While the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network continues its efforts to help prevent foreclosures through resources for loan modifications and other help for homeowners, including upcoming sessions at National Guard Armories around the state on Sept. 1, local organizations continue their work on the issue as well.

For instance, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership helps homeowners avoid foreclosure from the early stages of homeownership. INHP has provided counseling to homeowners before, during, and after the process of buying a home for 22 years. During its 2010 fiscal year, 1,715 families graduated from the organization’s money management or home-buyer education classes.

To celebrate the organization’s achievements and promote its current theme of Healthy Neighborhoods, Strong City, the organization hosted a breakfast Tuesday morning that featured CEO and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Charles L. Evans. The Fed had worked with INHP on a study of their counseling efforts, something Evans praised during his speech.

Even though INHP clients may have had lower credit scores and lower down payments compared with other borrowers, they had lower default rates on their mortgages – 3.8 percent compared with 6.3 percent for borrowers who had not gone through INHP’s counseling program, he said.

INHP will also tell potential home buyers if they are not in a good position to buy a home at this time, but they will work with them to help improve their credit scores and savings – but only if the client is also willing to work for it. Going through the program is not a guaranteed ticket to homeownership, but it will prepare those who are ready and qualified.

Evans compared the INHP counseling program to one in Chicago, which required counseling for home buyers looking to take out risky loan products. While that counseling program was found to have little effect, it still worked, he said, in the sense that because borrowers decided not to go through the required counseling for risky loans, they were less likely to take out high-risk loans. Instead, they would look for loans that didn’t require counseling.

Evans added some lenders with high-risk loans also decided to leave the market rather than go through the counseling programs and potentially be accused of predatory lending, which could also be considered something that made the program successful.

In addition to Evans’ address and question and answer session about the economy, the event included an inspiring performance by and a standing ovation for someone who was personally helped by INHP. The Harris family – Jonathan, Devonia, and their four young children – participated in the program for two years to get their credit and savings back on track to buy a home near the liberal arts high school where Jonathan teaches choir. To thank INHP and the supporters at the breakfast, he sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” He said the song should be the anthem of anyone who goes through what he called the “INHP Academy to Home Ownership.”

While it may be too late for those already in foreclosure who have exhausted their options or abandoned their properties, should counseling programs like the ones offered by INHP receive more attention and be more widely used on the front end to avoid future waves of foreclosures?
 

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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