“For someone to have a home and then lose it is such a tragic thing. It’s such a personal thing,” Take Back Your Home coordinator Ashly Hinmon told the Greenbelt Patch for a story published on December 14, 2011. “All the hard work they’ve put in is just falling away before their eyes.”
Unlike the Occupy Our Homes movement, which is a grassroots effort to disrupt foreclosures and evictions, Take Back Your Home is a student-run outreach program at the Washington College of Law. It compiles addresses of hundreds of foreclosed homes and tries to notify homeowners and renters of their rights and “cut through the confusing, intimidating or misleading information in foreclosure documents.”
Patch noted that foreclosure filings abruptly dropped after foreclosure mediation was made mandatory in the District of Columbia. American University law professor Susan Bennett told Patch that “mediation was already available in Maryland, but too few homeowners pursue it, or even know it’s an option.”
It seems that too many homeowners needing foreclosure help remain unaware of the assistance available to them. The Patch story noted how “dispiriting” it was for the Take Back Your Home group to find that they arrived too late. “The hard thing is when you go to houses that are already abandoned,” Hinmon said. “I’m really curious about why people are making the decision to abandon the property before they get the notice that they have to vacate.”
It would seem that the reason that homeowners and renters move before they really have to is a lot like the reason many others overwhelmed by debt fail to even consider a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy process: personal shame. Even very common and understandable reasons for falling behind on mortgage payments, such as a job loss or illness, are not enough to compel some people to seek out help. When your home is at stake, you should investigate every option available to you.
What more do you think can be done to help those who need help?
Law Firm of Kevin D. Judd – Washington DC bankruptcy attorney