For just over a year now, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has used money from the nationwide settlement with banks over unlawful foreclosures to help people hang on to their homes. Attorney General Martha Coakley highlighted the successful efforts during a forum today in Springfield.
Coakley said the first-in-the-nation HomeCorps program has helped to secure loan modifications for nearly 1,800 homeowners and worked out reductions in home loan principals totaling more than $35 million. Since the program launched in April 2012 Massachusetts has seen a sharp drop in the number of foreclosures.
In Hampden County there were 730 foreclosures last year, but just 197 during the first seven months of this year, according to the register of deeds.
Coakley told local officials and housing advocates at the Springfield forum Friday that the goal of the foreclosure prevention program is to stabilize the housing market and turn around the economy. Massachusetts received $45 million in the settlement with five large national banks.
The HomeCorps program offers loan modification advocacy for distressed borrowers and in some cases legal representation.
Coakley said the program fields an average of 60 calls per day. She said it is the only state-run program in the country that provides one-on-one help to people facing the threat of foreclosure
One of the people helped by the program is Tammy Sullivan. The single mother said the attorney general’s office helped her stay in her home even after it was foreclosed on and sold at auction.
Laurin Mottle, the director of the HomeCorps loan modification program, said Sullivan’s mortgage holder, J.P. Morgan Chase, agreed to unwind the foreclosure process and eventually forgave the remaining principal on the loan.
Coakley said she will make a decision by the end of the month on whether to run for governor in 2014.