Editor's note: Please see the bottom of the story for information from Madison Youth & Family Services and the federal government for people threatened with or undergoing foreclosure.
The number of foreclosures in the south central Connecticut region jumped dramatically from 2011 to 2012, according to a presentation Wednesday at a meeting of the South Central Connecticut Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG) on Washington Avenue in North Haven.
At the regional council meeting, First Selectman Fillmore McPherson of Madison termed the numbers “sobering.
In Madison, the number of lis pending filings, which indicates a pending legal action against a property owner, in the first quarter of the year was 21, according to a report from the Warren Group. There were five in January, seven in February and nine in March. The total of 21 compares with 69 in Branford, 15 in Clinton, nine in Durham, 17 in Guilford, five in Killingworth, 209 in New Haven, 15 in Old Saybrook, and three in Westbrook.
Foreclosure deed filings in Madison include one in January and five in March
The total for the state in the first quarter was 4,502, including 1,157 in January, 1,652 in February, and 1,693 in March, according to the Warren Group report.
The number of foreclosure deed filings, which are recorded when deeds transfer title to the lender after a mortgage foreclosure and include both strict foreclosures and committee deeds, in Madison for the first quarter of 2012 was six, including one in January, none in February, and five in March.
The number of foreclosure filings in the south central region of Connecticut rose from 481 in the first quarter of 2011 to 851 in the first quarter of 2012 for an increase of 75 percent, said Carla Weil, executive director of a loan fund that serves as administrative partner of The Real Options, Overcoming Foreclosures (ROOF).
Regional increase of 75 percent significantly outpaces statewide increase of 38 percent
This outpaced the statewide increase of 38 percent.
Weil, whose loan fund is officially the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund, termed the data “heartbreaking.”
Coming so long after the housing crisis began, the increase, she said, was in part the result of the judicial system by which the Connecticut foreclosure process operates, and also of the negotiations that concluded earlier this year between the federal and 49 state governments and five major U.S. banks over alleged foreclosure abuses.
Connecticut expected to receive $190 million from alleged foreclosure abuse settlement
Of the $25 billion sum the settlement produced, Connecticut is expected to receive more than $190 million, Weil said.
For people who have already lost their homes through explicit abusive practices, Weil said the settlement provides up to $2,000 for those who apply before Sept. 30.
Weil presented foreclosure filings in the 15 municipalities that comprise SCROCG. In Hamden, the foreclosure filings jumped from 33 to 91. In Milford, foreclosure filings went from 19 to 70. In North Haven, the number increased from 10 to 17, and in Bethany—the sole SCROCG member that saw a decrease—the filings dropped from 6 to 4.
ROOF efforts helping to prevent some foreclosures
ROOF efforts, which the council embraced regionally last September, has had considerable success in preventing foreclosures through its outreach and mediation efforts, Weil said.
She noted that only 47 percent of persons who are eligible for the state’s mediation efforts participated in the state mediation process for the last year for which data is available. Of those, however, 63 percent were able to stay in their homes.
“Every single homeowner who is in foreclosure has the option of going through a mediation program that involves a third party mediator from the state,” Weil said. “The best thing is to have a mediator and a counselor.
Free resources available to those in need
"The goal with ROOF all along is to get people to take advantage of the free resources that are out there,” she said.
Also at the regional council meeting on Wednesday, Mayor Ben Blake of Milford noted the difficulty he and his staff have had in reaching attorneys from the plaintiffs’ law firms. “Don’t they have a professional responsibility to get back to you?” the mayor asked.
James Zeoli, first selectman of Orange, noted that, by law, banks must register foreclosed properties with the Town Clerk, but that he has found that this is simply not always the case in Orange.
ROOF conducting foreclosure clinics
The decision by the council, which is charged with coordinating land use and transportation planning, to extend ROOF to the 15 municipalities under SCROCG’s jurisdiction last September came with an allocation of $25,000 for this fiscal year.
Volunteer representatives from the municipalities, which extend from Milford in the southwest to Madison on the east to Meriden on the north, participate in a Regional Housing Committee to oversee the ROOF’s regional foreclosure prevention efforts.
Since the council’s decision to take action, ROOF has conducted foreclosure clinics on a monthly basis in subregions within southcentral Connecticut in addition to outreach efforts such as sending letters about counseling and mediation resources directly to homeowners just entering foreclosure and training town staffs on available foreclosure resources, among the organization's other activities.
HUD-certified counselors work with homeowners at risk
Through the program, HUD-certified counselors also work with homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
For additional information on the foreclosure prevention program, residents can access theroofproject.org.
The website includes information about the foreclosure mediation; legal, mortgage and job assistance, clinics, and homeowner legislation in Connecticut.
Help available from Madison Youth & Family Services, and federal government
Madison Youth & Family Services has a brochure of information for people threatened with or undergoing foreclosure. It is posted with this story. The Madison Youth & Family services webpage has additional information about resources for families in need. The office is located at 10 School Street in
Madison, near the old Academy School, and the phone number is (203) 245-5645
Other resources include:
- Avoid Foreclosure: Connecticut from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Housing counseling agencies - counseling on buying, renting, defaults, foreclosures, credit issues and reverse mortgages
- Are you facing foreclosure? - call Connecticut's Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance Hotline toll-free at (877) 472-8313 for assistance and guidance
- State Banking Commissioner's Office and Foreclosure Hotline
- 2-1-1 Infoline - eviction, mortgage payment and foreclosure prevention referrals
- CT FAMLIES - refinancing program for borrowers facing foreclosure
- Connecticut Fair Housing Center - legal resources and foreclosure prevention clinics
- Don't lose your home - tips and resources when you are facing foreclosure
- Foreclosure Mediation Program - get help before you lose your home to foreclosure
- Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) - borrower assistance programs to help provide relief to homeowners with subprime mortgages
- Veterans Affairs Regional Loan Center - assistance for veterans with delinquent mortgage loans
- Legal assistance English and Spanish
- Attorney General's Office
Additional resources from HUD include:
- HOPE NOW Alliance
- HOPE NOW Unemployment Resources
- Talk to a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency
- U.S. Department of Labor Career One Stop
- FHA Loss Mitigation Services
- EHLP Substantially Similar States
- Innovation Fund for Hardest Hit Housing Markets
- USDA Loan Modifications
- Veterans Administration-HAMP
- Reverse Mortgages: Get the Facts
- Are You At Risk of Foreclosure?
- Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure
- Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure (brochure)
- Tips for Avoiding Scams