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Posted on January 16, 2009

Money Management International (MMI), a national HUD-approved nonprofit housing counseling agency, is taking steps to strengthen its fight against foreclosure in 2009.

According to RealtyTrac, the 2008 national foreclosure rate was 1.84 percent, with a total of 3,157,806 filings. Housing analysts predict more than 8 million foreclosures will occur over the next four years, representing 16 percent of all U.S. mortgages. MMI and its family of Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) agencies created several programs last year to help fight this trend—in fact, in 2008 more than 200,000 struggling homeowners contacted MMI for help keeping their homes.

“We will continue to be committed to this effort, and look for every opportunity to expand our counseling efforts and enhance our programs and services to provide immediate support to distressed homeowners,” said Ivan Hand, President and CEO of MMI. “With over 530 certified counselors across the nation in more than 120 branch offices, a variety of foreclosure-prevention programs, and timely counseling and education, we are in a great position to help families save their homes from foreclosure.”

For 2009, MMI is prepared to meet the challenging needs of individuals and families through the following partnerships, grant programs, and educational outreach activities specifically focused on helping individuals and families remain in their homes:

Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling – With a $16 million grant from NeighborWorks® America – the largest grant amount awarded to a housing counseling agency working to support the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 – MMI will offer free counseling to families at risk of losing their homes through the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. This program is designed to assist consumers in understanding the complex foreclosure process, help them review their options and identify a possible course of action, and help to ensure they make informed decisions.

HOPE Hotline – MMI is proud to be one of the organizations selected by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), the national organization that operates the HOPE Hotline, to provide foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation counseling services. Every day thousands of homeowners from across the nation call the HOPE Hotline. Many of those in need of financial counseling are directed to MMI. As a result of MMI’s extensive counseling operation, in 2008 alone, MMI recommended approximately 40,000 proposals for loan modifications in lieu of foreclosure filings.

MMI PHASES Program — The Preserving Homeownership and Savings Education Strategy (PHASES) program is made possible through grant funds totaling $2 million from HSBC-North America. This program is available to homeowners in select states and provides qualified applicants with grants to pay past due mortgage payments and other outstanding debts. The program also provides one-on-one financial counseling sessions to help ensure future financial success to keep families in their homes. In 2008, MMI awarded grants of more than $950,000 and helped over 1,700 families remain in their homes.

“Homeowners looking for foreclosure prevention counseling can count on MMI’s housing counselors to help them make wise choices about their future, avoid the financial and emotional trauma of foreclosure, and help them understand their options in what is often a very confusing process,” said Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy at MMI. “MMI’s housing counselors understand that losing a home is not just a housing issue; it is one of the most emotionally disruptive, distressing, and financially draining things that can happen to a family.”

About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, and counseling services; including housing counseling, bankruptcy counseling and education, and debt management assistance. MMI has been helping consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts since 1958. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 800.432.7310 or visit www.MoneyManagement.org.