Saturday, December 25, 2004

Community group creating center to help with foreclosures


The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A community group is establishing a center to help Allegheny County residents facing foreclosure.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — or ACORN — will open the Center for Financial Justice on Jan. 3. Officials said nearly 6,000 properties have been sold at auction this year and another 4,300 sales are pending.

Maryellen Hayden, head county organizer for ACORN, said the majority of foreclosures are being caused by sub-prime lenders, which are not banking institutions but deal in high-interest loans typically offered to low- and moderate-income people as second mortgages on their homes. ACORN calls them predatory because the companies don't calculate a buyer's ability to pay.

The center will teach people how to get a fair loan, provide housing counseling and negotiate with loan companies to arrange payment schedules when possible, Hayden said.

The Pittsburgh Foundation gave ACORN more than $200,000 to open the center.

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