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RI Ramps Up Spending On Foreclosure Prevention

Rhode Island has spent its Hardest Hit money faster than many other states. According to Treasury, states had committed $1.7 billion of the total â¿¿ or about 22 percent â¿¿ through November on behalf of homeowners in the program. In Rhode Island, Godfrey said the average total assistance is about $18,500.

Rhode Island Housing also does foreclosure mediation and conciliation for five municipalities â¿¿ Providence, East Providence, Cranston, Warwick and Warren â¿¿ but Godfrey said mediation efforts often come too late. The process doesn't start until the lender has already notified the homeowner it intends to foreclose, and by the time cases are referred to a coordinator, many homeowners have already left.

"It comes very late in the process and many of the folks have already given up and been displaced," he said. "We really need to compel mediation earlier in the process."

Coordinators received 1,828 letters of intent to foreclose last year in the five jurisdictions, according to Rhode Island Housing. But they were able to make contact with only 461 homeowners. Of those, 65 percent had their foreclosures canceled without even going to a conference. Of the ones that did go to conference, just under half had some form of loss mitigation.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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