Local Communities Struggle With Empty Houses

June 25, 2009

The Suburban Journals recently followed a Collinsville community service officer as she made her rounds citing houses desperately in need of maintenance.  Community service officers monitor neglected homes and unkept yards.  Since the mortgage crisis and the subsequent rise in foreclosures, their job has gotten a lot more difficult.  Communities all over Missouri are struggling with how to handle abandoned and foreclosed homes. 

To read more about what Collinsville and other local communities are doing about empty homes, CLICK HERE

In tough times, it’s especially important to help our neighbors.  If there are vacant or abandoned properties in your neighborhood, do your part to keep your neighborhood safe—you can rake leaves, mow the lawn, or just pick up trash to keep homes clean. 

For volunteer opportunities in your area, call United Way’s 2-1-1 referral service at (800) 427-4626.

Do you have stories to share about volunteering in your neighborhood?  Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.


Unemployment Leads to More Foreclosures Across the Country

June 23, 2009

A new wave of foreclosures is affecting areas of the country not previously hard-hit by the mortgage crisis.  USA Today reports that these foreclosures are different from the foreclosures at the beginning of the mortgage crisis in 2007.  Instead of being caused by risky subprime lending, the recent increase in foreclosures is due to rising unemployment.  In the ongoing economic recession, more and more people are losing their jobs and are unable to keep up with their mortgage payments.

To learn more about how unemployment is affecting the housing market, you can read the entire article HERE.  If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact a HUD-certified counselor.  To find one, call United Way’s 2-1-1 referral service at (800) 427-4626.  2-1-1 can also connect you with resources and information about employment, food, health care, counseling, and other services.


Obama Announces Major Financial Reforms

June 17, 2009

President Obama announced his plan today for sweeping reforms of the nation’s financial systems.  Among these reforms is the establishment of the Consumer Protection Agency.  CNN reports that the agency will help to protect consumers from deceptive financial services and to regulate mortgages, credit cards, payday lending, and other similar financial practices. 

These changes are part of an effort to address the risky mortgage lending that led to the financial crisis America is facing right now.  To learn more about Obama’s announcement, you can read the entire article online HERE.

If you or someone you know needs credit counseling, call United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Service at (800) 427-4626–they’ll help connect you with trusted resources.  You can also contact one of our partners, ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, for help with credit card debt.  If you think you may have been part of a fraudulent scheme, contact the FBI.


MO Attorney General Sues Mortgage-Refinancing Companies

June 16, 2009

On May 27, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced suits against two local mortgage-refinancing companies.  The St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Savvy Consumer blog reports that both companies have been calling citizens on Missouri’s Do-Not-Call list.  These suits are part of an ongoing effort by the Attorney General’s office to fight mortgage scams. 

Legitimate housing counseling agencies won’t contact you or send out advertisements.  Their services shouldn’t cost you anything.  You should be wary of any company that seeks you out and/or that is charging you a lot of money for housing counseling.

To read the entire St. Louis Post Dispatch article on Koster’s announcement, CLICK HERE.  If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact a HUD-certified housing counseling agency to seek help.  To find one, call United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Service at (800) 427-4626.


Problems with the Making Home Affordable Program

June 11, 2009

NPR’s All Things Considered recently reported on the Making Home Affordable initiative signed into law by President Obama in March.  Though the plan promises to help 4-5 million homeowners, so far it has successfully modified only 17,000 mortgages.  For many Americans, applying for help through the initiative has turned out to be a confusing and complicated process.

You can listen as NPR’s Planet Money team follows the struggle of one young couple applying to the program HERE.  To see if you qualify for the Making Home Affordable plan, CLICK HERE.

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact a HUD-certified housing counseling agency to seek help.  To find one, call United Way’s 2-1-1 referral service at (800) 427-4626.


Foreclosures Increase for Prime Borrowers

June 9, 2009

Since the beginning of the mortgage crisis, many experts have blamed the explosion in foreclosures on risky sub-prime loans.  But USA Today reported recently that the rate of foreclosure for prime borrowers has been increasing, mainly because of rising unemployment rates.  To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact a HUD-certified housing counseling agency to seek help.  To find one, call United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Service at (800) 427-4626.


The Salvation Army

June 4, 2009

In April 2009, the Salvation Army hosted a free Family & Crisis Resource Fair. The event was in response to the many people who are facing unemployment, reduced hours, foreclosure, or other financial troubles. People were able to visit booths to get information and resources about different financial issues, as well as job hunting.

The Salvation Army is committed to providing assistance to those in need. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please contact the Salvation Army, Midland Division.

Below is a video of Major Lonneal Richardson, Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army’s Midland Division. In this clip, Major Richardson gives some suggestions for people who may be facing unemployment. To watch more videos from the fair, CLICK HERE.