Foreclosure Resources and Assistance

Are you concerned about possible foreclosure of your home? Foreclosure can occur when an owner is unable to stay current with mortgage or condominium fee payments for an extended period of time. There are resources available to assist homeowners who are facing potential foreclosure.

The first step for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage is to contact their lender. Some lenders have options available to help borrowers through financially difficult times. For homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages, understanding the terms of their loan is a priority. Borrowers should know when their rates can change, how high their interest rate can get, and what the resulting payment will be.

If homeowners are concerned that they will have trouble making their payments, they should contact their lender’s foreclosure prevention department immediately. For cases when a lender will not help or when a homeowner is already late on their mortgage payment(s), the following is a list of foreclosure prevention counseling services, which can assist in identifying reputable lenders and potential financial assistance programs available to assist in foreclosure prevention.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a comprehensive list of foreclosure resources here. The site includes information for homeowners facing foreclosure, as well as information on tenants’ rights, foreclosure laws and regulation, new foreclosure legislation, and links to counseling agencies and workshops.

Foreclosure Prevention Counseling

City of Cambridge

The City of Cambridge Community Development Department offers one-on-one counseling and can answer questions for Cambridge individuals and households at risk of foreclosure. The City of Cambridge also offers FTHB classes, credit workshops and counseling, and post-purchase workshops to ensure successful homeownership. Please contact Antonia Finley at 617/349-4643 or afinley@cambridgema.gov for more information about programs and services for homeowners and homebuyers.

If you are the owner of a home purchased through one of the City's affordable housing programs, is it important that you contact the Housing Division as soon as you are having trouble paying your mortgage or condominium fees. The Housing Division can work with you to help you understand and assess your options.

Homeowners Rehab, Inc./Cambridge Neighborhood Apartment Housing Services

HRI offers counseling and technical assistance to owners of one- to four-unit buildings at risk of foreclosure. Contact Jennifer Jonassaint at 617/868-4858 or jenniferj@homeownersrehab.org .

Just-A-Start, Corp.

Just-A-Start offers counseling and technical assistance to owners of one- to four-unit buildings at risk of foreclosure. Contact Alan LaBella or Joe Youngworth at 617/494-0444 or alanlabella@justastart.org .

Sustainable Homeownership Center

The Sustainable Homeownership Center provides homeownership and mortgage counseling and works with lenders to develop strategies to affordably sustain homeownership. Call 800/224-5124.

Financial Assistance Programs

Second Chance Program

Through the Home Improvement Program (HIP), Just-A-Start Corporation (JAS) and Homeowner’s Rehab (HRI) administer the Second Chance Program, a program supported by Cambridge Savings Bank for individuals who may not qualify for a loan to re-finance their home under normal guidelines. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Applicants must have a 1-2 unit owner-occupied residential property in Cambridge and must have income at or below 120% of the area median income. Click here for current income guidelines.

This program provides loans between $10,000 and $250,000. The loan can go towards consolidation of first and second mortgages, credit card debt, medical bills, legal bills or real estate taxes in arrears. Contact Joe Youngworth or Alan LaBella at Just A Start Corporation at 617/494-0444 or joeyoungworth@justastart.org or alanlabella@justastart.org . For Homeowner's Rehab, contact Jennifer Jonassaint at 617/868-4858 or jenniferj@homeownersrehab.org.

Massachusetts Division of Banks

Homeowners who believe that they have been the victim of wrongful lending practices should contact the Division of Banks at 800/495-2265, ext. 1501.

Other Resources

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

In an effort to assist homeowners facing foreclosure, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has developed a website at www.theinformedhomebuyer.org . This site contains a wide variety of information on topics such as loan modification, refinancing programs, and foreclosure education programs. There are also publications to assist buyers in evaluating their options before choosing a mortgage.

MERS For Homeowners

MERS for Homeowners is an online resource designed to help homeowners identify the mortgage company handling their mortgage loan. This section of the MERS website is specifically designed to help consumers identify the mortgage company that handles their mortgage loan through two vehicles: the web-based MERS Servicer ID and the phone-based MERS Servicer Identification System at 888/679-6377. In addition, the site provides information about the responsibilities of the mortgage company that services mortgage loans and what homeowners should know about the servicing process.

Before calling the Servicer Identification System or accessing MERS Servicer ID online, homeowners must have the following information ready: the mortgage loan's Mortgage Identification Number (MIN); or the borrower's name and social security number; or the property address.

Websites with more information

Freddie Mac’s Don’t Borrow Trouble: http://www.dontborrowtrouble.com/

Making Home Affordable: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/

Legal Resources

Pro Bono Foreclosure Assistance Hotline

Individuals facing foreclosure may benefit from qualified legal counsel to represent them in foreclosure proceedings. The Attorney General’s Office, in partnership with several bar associations, legal services organizations and advocacy groups, announced the establishment of a Pro Bono Foreclosure Assistance Hotline. Low-income Massachusetts residents who are facing foreclosure may call 800/342-5297 or 617/603-1700 and leave a message in the foreclosure assistance mail box. Income limits apply.

Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services

Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services offers legal assistance to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and groups that represent tenants in substandard housing and the homeless. Visit their website at www.gbls.org or call them at 617/603-2700 to learn more about their housing services.