NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania is now offering free counseling services at the Brashear Association's Neighborhood Employment Center in Allentown.
In addition to free budget and credit counseling, NeighborWorks certified counselors can help Hilltop residents facing delinquent or defaulting mortgages.
Between 2006 and 2009, 794 Hilltop properties were involved in foreclosure filings. While the numbers declined annually, the foreclosure rate in the Hilltop is still among the highest in the county. Since January of 2010, 29 Hilltop properties were advertised in the first three sheriff sales. (Hilltop foreclosure statistics were obtained from the Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System. PNCIS is a project of the University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh.)
Algia Gary, supervisor of NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania counseling services, said "these foreclosure statistics equate to loss of equity and destabilization in the Hilltop communities and that's where we want to help. Our partnership with the Neighborhood Employment Center allows us to provide our much needed services to an even greater client base. The goal is to make our services convenient to Hilltop residents."
"We are committed to helping people avoid foreclosure by negotiating with mortgage companies or banks," said Colin Kelley, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania. "Through negotiation, we may be able to help clients get a reduction in principal on their mortgage, an interest rate reduction or term extension. Again, our goal is to help our clients' foreclosure outlook ease or greatly improve."
Budget and credit counseling helps individuals and families develop action plans, repair and improve credit scores and make sound financial decisions.
"NeighborWorks Counseling Services are designed to help clients get back on track with their finances by providing support through education and personal involvement," added Mr. Kelley.
"We are pleased to have NeighborWorks onsite at the Neighborhood Employment Center," said Christine Gaus, director of services for the Brashear Association. "We are all working towards one common goal – stabilizing the individuals and the communities we serve through the empowerment of self-reliance. "
NeighborWorks counseling services are available at the Neighborhood Employment Center, 730 Warrington Avenue in Allentown, on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 412-281-9773. Individuals and families who are interested in scheduling an appointment should specify that they would like their appointment to take place in Allentown.