Preventing Foreclosures in West Michigan

chairs-on-the-beachThis past week, I attended a Foreclosure seminar which was part of the Fair Housing annual educational and awards presentation held in Grand Rapids, MI.

The event was well attended and included individuals representing a number of different areas of government, business and the non-profit sector. The foreclosure session was led by Kym Spring, the coordinator for Foreclosure Response, and featured several presenters as well as discussion and questions from the audience.

I learned a lot about the profound impact that foreclosures are having in the West Michigan area including the unsettling statistic that 10% of the housing stock in our area is in some part of the foreclosure process.

In Kent County, we’re loosing about 10 homes a day, 7 days a week! One of the most arresting comments came from a member of the audience. (which included several local experts)

A gentleman associated with Home Repair services, an organization dedicated to helping home owners STAY in their homes shared this:

‘While much is being done and invested to address the crisis through programs to help the banks and re-build communities, we should remember that it costs approximately $1,000 to help a family STAY in their homes. And organizations which do this are struggling with their budgets.’

That comment for me highlighted the challenge of dealing with this crisis. Sometimes, complexity gets in the way of common sense.

While there is not going to be one single silver bullet to end this crisis, we risk loosing sight of obvious steps which can be taken to alleviate human suffering and stabilize hard hit communities. After all, if our neighbors loose their homes, we’re all going to suffer.

This is NOT an individual problem…it’s a collective problem!

One key theme which emerged from the seminar was this: ‘it’s going to take a coordinated effort of EDUCATION, COORDINATION, INTERVENTION & STABILIZATION.

From my perspective, it’s also going to take TIME; a commodity which is truly in short supply as the crisis claims an increasing number of victims.

At a time when the numbers being tossed around to deal with this crisis are so staggering that we need graphs and pictures to help folks understand the size of the mountain of dollars, it was really refreshing and eye opening to hear about practical solutions which would cost far less and can be implemented at the local level.

If you’re in the West Michigan area and need help because of the threat of Foreclosure, here are some reputable organizations which can be of assistance.

Legal Aid of West Michigan:  If you’re a renter, being unfairly evicted due to foreclosure, call: 616-774-0672

Foreclosure Response:  Homeowners, renters and neighborhood communities can access services, self-help tools and action steps to help prevent foreclosures. Call 616-401-0680 or e-mail

Home Repair Services:   These housing specialists provide FREE assistance to help homeowners work out positive outcomes with their lender. They also serve as a referral to other services which can be of assistance to people facing this challenge. Call 616-241-2601

Copyright 2009 Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

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