Last week, over 500 homeowners facing possible foreclosure visited our workshops in Worcester and Springfield. This gave many families an opportunity to stay in their homes, and was just part of the Patrick Administration’s efforts in preserving and improving communities throughout the state.
Foreclosure directly affects one family, but it can also have an impact on communities, as homes stay empty and drain life out of a street or neighborhood. Last week, I joined Governor Patrick in Worcester as he announced the Communities Count initiatives in that city (photo right). Afterward, I went to the Foreclosure Prevention Workshop, which drew nearly 300 homeowners. The next day, over 200 people attended a similar Workshop in Springfield.
I talked to a number of homeowners in both cities, and was glad to hear many of them received good news through on-the-spot modifications, or great progress toward foreclosure solutions. One person told me his mortgage payments were cut by nearly two-thirds. Others expressed optimism that they would get the help they need to stay in their home. My office intends to follow up with the homeowners and lenders who attended to measure the results in terms of actual loan modifications resulting from this effort.
It is gratifying to know that hundreds of families received help last week, but those one-day efforts are just part of the everyday efforts being made by the Patrick Administration and our partners, like NeighborWorks Homeownership Center in Worcester, and HAP Housing in Springfield.
If you think you might be facing foreclosure, don’t wait to get help. Visit our foreclosure homepage, and learn about state and federal programs. Find someone to help you with the process, but be wary. Do not pay a company an upfront fee for them to manage foreclosure. Instead, find an approved housing counselor in your area who can help you.
We have held four foreclosure workshops this year, and have seen about 1,300 homeowners. We know there are thousands more who need help in finding a solution to their foreclosure situation. If you’re one of those homeowners, please don’t wait. Help may be available, but you have to take the first step.
How to Combat Illegal Robocalls posted on Jul 25
Robocalls have become an all-too-common nuisance for consumers. Robocalls are unsolicited, pre-recorded phone calls, often scams, which are made to consumers without their permission, as opposed to calls solicited by the consumer, such as those from pharmacies and childrens’ schools. Robocalls are illegal in Massachusetts under M.G.L. c. 159C. While consumers can, and should, sign-up -for both the state and national Do-Not-Call lists, unfortunately this does not always stop many unscrupulous solicitors and scammers from making these calls.
Summary of the 2015 Consumer Federation of America Annual Consumer Complaint Survey posted on Jul 22
The Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators recently released the results of the 2015 Consumer Complaint Survey. This report is based on consumer information, complaints, and suggestions for increased consumer protections from 33 consumer agencies in 21 states.
Do-Not-Call Consumer & Solicitor Responsibilities posted on Jul 20
The Massachusetts Do-Not-Call Registry allows consumers to stop receiving certain telephone solicitations simply by signing-up and providing their telephone number. Established in 2003, the law requires telephone solicitors, list-brokers, and telemarketers to register with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, subscribe to the Do-Not-Call Registry, and remove registered telephone numbers of consumers from their call lists.