A new website and awareness campaign are now in place to support struggling Oregon homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR), part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, is partnering with Oregon Consumer Justice (OCJ) has launched www.oregonhomeownerhelp.org as a central hub for foreclosure prevention resources.
The mortgage foreclosure moratorium in Oregon expired in December 2021. With rising inflation, many households that are having trouble keeping up with living expenses may be at risk of missing a mortgage payment, according to OHCS Director of Homeownership Division Emese Perfecto, who added that some Oregonians are not aware there may be ways to avoid foreclosure.
“We want homeowners who have fallen behind or are at risk of missing a mortgage payment to know they may have options,” Perfecto said. “It can be overwhelming to receive a letter from a mortgage company. You are not alone. This website, which highlights certified housing counselors as a key resource, can help them find the best way to move forward.”
Perfacto said the emphasis of the awareness campaign is to direct homeowners who are worried about being able to make their mortgage payment, or who have received a foreclosure letter from their servicer, to do one of two things:
- Call 211 to be put into contact with certified housing counselors at one of the many homeownership centers throughout the state.
“Housing counselors can advocate on your behalf with your mortgage servicer,” Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services Andrew Stolfi said. “If you get a call or a letter from your mortgage servicer, contact a homeownership center right away. The earlier you reach out for help, the more options you will have.”
In addition to housing counseling services, the Oregon Attorney General’s Office Outreach and Education Coordinator Ellen M. Klem said the website can also help homeowners avoid falling victim to fraud and connect them with legal assistance.
“As the attention on foreclosures increases, so will the foreclosure-related scams. It’s important for homeowners to be on the lookout and avoid falling victim,” Klem said. “The new website and awareness campaign will provide Oregonians with the information they need to stay safe from fraud during this challenging time.”
If a homeowner has provided that information to a scammer and believes they are a victim of a scam, Klem said the homeowner should do the following:
File a police report to document the crime for their creditors. Make sure they get the report number and a copy.
- Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-438-4338 (toll-free) or at www.ftc.gov.
- Call their creditors such as their bank or credit union, credit card company, cell phone provider and other utilities, and their health insurance provider.
- File a complaint with the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation or call 888-877-4894 (toll-free).
“We know that during the subprime scandal, thousands of Oregonians were targeted by scammers with a disproportionate impact on communities of color,” OCJ Executive Diretor Jagjit Nagra said. “Many families were displaced and have yet to recover. We want to work hard to prevent people from losing their homes due to scams.”
For more information, visit www.oregonhomeownerhelp.org or call 211 to be connected to a housing counselor that serves your area.