SMOC office aims to curb Framingham foreclosures

SMOC office aims to curb Framingham foreclosures Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Peter Reuell 508-626-4428 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- Homeowners behind on their mortgage payments and worried about losing their homes will soon have somewhere to turn for help.

Thanks to an initial $50,000 grant from the state's Division of Housing and Community Development and the Division of Banks, the South Middlesex Opportunity Council will today open the doors of one of the state's first foreclosure prevention offices.

The office is one of several to be created throughout the state aimed at helping families avoid foreclosure, said Jerry Desilets, SMOC's director of planning.

The center will be established in partnership with South Middlesex Legal Services, Greater Boston Legal Services and the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts, and will be located at SMOC's 300 Howard St. headquarters.

Today's ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the newly created center, at 1 p.m.

The center will focus on working with low-income families with "subprime" mortgages, Desilets said.

"What will happen is South Middlesex Legal Services or a local bank may become aware of a family in crisis," he said. "They will be referred to the center.

"We will determine if there's an opportunity to work out some sort of mortgage agreement. The first and foremost goal is to preserve the person's mortgage and home ownership."

With the help of legal assistance, homeowners may be able to work out payment plans or other agreements to avoid foreclosure, Desilets said.

"If we can't work it out, the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Office will do everything it can do to mitigate the damages of that," Desilets added.

The center will be launched with $50,000 of grant funding, but it is expected to become a permanent program, with annual funding of about $200,000, Desilets said.

For more information about mortgage assistance, call 508-872-0765.

(Peter Reuell can be reached at 508-626-4428, or at

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