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San Jose, CA —Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley (NHSSV), part of Santa Clara County’s Affordable Housing Week’s events, convened a Foreclosure Intervention Panel last week at San Jose City Hall. The Panelists included representatives from BofA, Chase, Wells Fargo, CalHFA, San Jose Housing Department staff, PACT, and the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. Moderator, Matt Huerta, Executive Director of NHSSV stated: “The panel discussion achieved the goal of establishing an ongoing dialogue with lenders and our local team of advocates and practitioners to share the best information available and continuously identify areas for collaboration that will achieve better results for our homeowners and keep our local economy on the path toward recovery.”
Here are some excerpts and summaries from the panelist discussion; a full summary is available at
Jacky Morales-Ferrand, City of San Jose Assistant Housing Director: “The City has partnered with the Housing Trust and NHSSV to obtain $25 Million in National Stabilization Program funds to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed homes and sell them to low and moderate-income families.  Our larger effort is the foreclosure help center.  An East San Jose satellite office will open in Summer 2012.”
Diane Richardson, Director of Policy Development for CalHFA outlined Programs for qualifying households:
1. Unemployment Assistance Program –“Pays mortgage payment up to $3,000 for up to 9 months. Homeowner must be collecting unemployment from Employment Development Department (EDD).  Funds go to the servicer to pay the mortgage payment.”
2. Mortgage Reinstatement Program – “Pays up to $25,000 to reinstate your mortgage by a pure reinstatement or coupled with a modification if your servicer chooses to modify your loan at that time.”
3. Principal Reduction Program – “Pays up to $50,000 to lower your principal and, in June, increases the payment to $100,000. You have to document your hardship and show that you can make a sustainable payment going forward. The servicer must match that assistance dollar for dollar, but in June this requirement will be eliminated. The servicer will then be asked to modify the loan.”
4. Transition Assistance Program – “Families that are going to do a Short Sale or a Deed in Lieu transaction, qualify for up to $5,000 to get reestablished in another living situation.”
Diana Castillo, Senior Attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, provided an overview of the foreclosure intervention response: “We have successfully represented homeowners who were trapped in predatory loans, wrongly denied loan modifications. We also continue to see homeowners who have been defrauded by private loan modification “specialists”.
Gina Gates, NHSSV Board member and PACT Leader: “The biggest issue around Most Holy Trinity in East San Jose is foreclosure. We successfully lobbied Mayor Reed to assign two more code enforcement officers to deal with foreclosed and abandoned properties.”
Only a fraction of borrowers take advantage of lenders programs.
Frank Howard, Senior V.P. of Wells Fargo Bank said: “WFB goes into the communities, and does large scale home preservation workshops where they have underwriters on site. However, we’re only having an 8-10% turnout.”
Sam Hussain, Senior V.P. of Bank of America said: “We’ve sent out over 200,000 letters to BofA customers, and our response rate is extremely low.  We’re telling them that we’re gonna give you principal forgiveness, please call us.”
Diana Castillo challenged the panelists
“Lenders should go to East SJ and South Santa Clara County, serve homeowners in their neighborhoods, support HUD approved counseling services. Lenders should consider foreign-language radio programs for outreach and contact the Law Foundation to learn about the foreclosure crisis in Santa Clara County.”
Frank Howard: “… Our numbers aren’t broken down by San Jose neighborhoods. If you have a location and someone we can work with, we will bring underwriters in for a Saturday event.”
Gina Gates: “Our folks Text. If you want them to know about your events, come to the neighborhoods, work with PACT, and go to churches. I commend NHSSV for bringing counseling services to Most Holy Trinity community resource center.”


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