News Releases

As Washington State Foreclosure Rates Rise, Murray Helps Secure Additional Funding for Foreclosure Counseling "Lifeline"

Dec 03 2008

$628,880 will provide additional expert, free assistance to help Washington state families avoid foreclosure

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that Washington state will receive an additional $628,880 to help Washington state residents access critical housing counseling services. The funding will be distributed to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission which provides free foreclosure mitigation counseling services for Washington State residents. The funding is part of $177.5 million that will be distributed to housing counseling agencies across the country today. The $177.5 million in funding is a direct result of an amendment Senator Murray successfully included in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 that increased housing counseling funding to $180 million nationwide.

“With more Washington state families facing the threat of losing their homes, this funding is more important than ever,” said Senator Murray. “This funding extends a lifeline to families who feel they have no way out of debt and nowhere to turn for help. It will ensure that expert, free assistance is just a phone call away.”

Washington state had 4,278 foreclosure filings in October, which was a 95 percent increase from October of 2007. The state's rate of one filing for every 631 households put it 17th among all states and Washington, D.C.

The funding announced today will be distributed by the federal government through Neighbor Works America , a national nonprofit organization created by Congress, to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

“The Commission is particularly pleased with the announcement today of the release of $628,880 in funds to be used for housing counseling efforts in the state of Washington,” said Paul Edwards, Deputy Director of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. “While we have been fortunate in that we have not had the severity of foreclosures faced by other states, we anticipate the numbers may rise in the future. This additional amount of funding will go to our statewide network of housing counselors who provide pre-purchase housing counseling and work with delinquent borrowers to avoid foreclosure. We sincerely thank Senator Murray for her long term commitment to the residents of Washington and her efforts to keep people in their homes and promote affordable housing in the state of Washington.”

Senator Murray has been a tireless supporter of providing foreclosure counseling access to struggling families nationwide. In December 2007, Senator Murray was able to secure $180 million in foreclosure counseling funding in the Omnibus Appropriations bill. Of that funding, $334,911 went to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Senator Murray also secured $686,000 in a federal funding specifically for the Washington State Housing Finance Commission using a federal earmark in the Omnibus Appropriations bill.

Murray supports housing counseling services because they have a demonstrated track record of helping homeowners navigate the complicated process of contacting lenders, banks and legal services to modify their mortgage loans and ultimately save their homes from foreclosure.  Counseling services also have proven to be one of the most successful and cost-effective ways of avoiding foreclosure.

“Foreclosure is a complex and daunting process that often leaves more questions than answers,” said Senator Murray.  “Foreclosure counseling helps families make informed decisions that often keep them in their homes.”

IMPORTANT WASHINGTON STATE HOUSING COUNSELING RESOURCES:

To contact the Washington State Homeownership Information Hotline call 1.877.894.HOME

See more information from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

View a list of housing counseling services supported by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission in different regions of the state.