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Counseling services offer help on foreclosure advice

Four housing and credit counseling agencies have joined together to offer foreclosure prevention, pre-purchase and reverse mortgage counseling across Alabama.

With funding from the Office of Attorney General Luther Strange, the Alabama Housing Stability Counseling Collaborative will offer free help to Alabama homeowners who are delinquent in their mortgage, want to obtain a reverse mortgage to avoid foreclosure, or are interested in becoming a first time home-buyer.

Led by Gateway Financial Freedom in Birmingham, partners in the Collaborative include Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Tennessee River Valley in Huntsville, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Alabama in Montgomery, and Lifelines/Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Mobile.

The agencies have more than 94 years combined housing and credit counseling experience and are members of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and licensed by the Alabama Securities Commission. All are nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation, and are members of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.

“We are excited to be able to help families in North Alabama who are having trouble making their mortgage payments,” coordinator Rhonda Williams said.

“We can offer options including loan modifications or financial assistance to become current on your mortgage. Please call our Huntsville Office for Consumer Credit Counseling Service at (256) 881-1000 to discuss eligibility and set an appointment.”

The partners will offer financial coaching, pre and post-purchase housing counseling, mortgage foreclosure and eviction prevention counseling, reverse mortgage counseling, and financial and pre-home-ownership education workshops. Services vary by location.

Homeowners facing delinquency or would like to receive other assistance in any of 67 Alabama counties are eligible to apply for services. The program started August 1. At all locations, you must call ahead for an appointment. A limited number of homeowners may receive financial assistance paid directly to their lender if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

“We look forward to working with the Office of the Attorney General for the benefit of Alabama consumers—helping them to obtain or retain the dream of homeownership, and building their wealth to become self-sufficient,” said chairman of the Collaborative Doug Horst, from Gateway Financial Freedom.

Funding was made available by Attorney General Strange’s participation in last year’s $25 billion joint federal-state agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers over foreclosure abuses and fraud, and unacceptable nationwide mortgage servicing practices.