Help for Foreclosures in Region 8

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- In the past two years the number of foreclosures has doubled nationwide and we're starting to see the impact here in Region 8.  While there are a lot of people in Region 8 that haven't been touched by the mortgage crisis, that doesn't mean there aren't those out there that are struggling with it right now.

A recent grant from West Tennessee Legal Services is helping legal aid of Arkansas help residents try to save their homes from foreclosure.

"It's called housing counseling.  Someone will come in and they're a few months behind on their mortgage and we'll look at their budget and look at what caused them to get behind," said Legal Aid of Arkansas attorney Brian Miles.

Attorney Brian Miles said in a lot of cases you can save your home and they are here to help you try to do it.

"Maybe they've had medical problems.  Maybe their interest rate's gone up.  They had an adjustable rate mortgage, but now it's gone up to where they can't make the payments.  We find out what they can pay and then we make proposals to the lenders to try to save their home," said Miles.

So far in 2008, Legal Aid of Arkansas has closed on 18 cases, and they were only able to save a hand full of those homes.  Currently they have 16 open cases in Region 8.

"What happens is you get the foreclosure notice in the mail and you don't open it because you can't pay it.  If they just knew there is somebody there to help them, then a lot of people could save their homes," said Miles.

This grant is specifically targeting Poinsett, Craighead and Greene counties because a study done by "Neighbor Works" showed that those areas are being affected by foreclosures.

"A lot of homes can be saved.  Banks don't want the houses back.  This is not a friendly market to sell homes and banks don't want them back.  You just have to give them a reason to give your client a chance," said Miles.

This is not a government bail out.  It is a federal grant, but it is a way the government is helping people try to keep their homes.  There are no income guidelines for this grant.  Anyone can get help and it won't cost a dime.