Prince William County, Va. has suffered its fair share of foreclosures with more than 16,000 since 2004, representing more than 10 percent of all homes in the county.
In recent months a group of activists, Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement(VOICE), has been pressing banks to provide millions of dollars in relief for the homeowners affected. At a recent community meeting two banks identified more than a 1,000 homeowners as eligible for assistance in the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement announced this year.
“Virginia’s Prince William County interfaith group’s activism demanding mortgage reductions could serve as a model for other communities – including veterans and veterans’ groups – seeking mortgage debt relief,” said Phil Georgiades, chief loan steward at VA Home Loan Centers (VA-HLC), a San Diego-based group that specializes in arranging VA loans and advising veterans, active-duty military and their families about homeownership.
“It’s good to see some homeowners begin to get the much-promised relief from these big banks,” Georgiades continues.
“However, it is not enough. The scale of the problem is huge. VOICE has estimated that Prince William County alone needs up to $500 million to fix the damage caused by the mortgage crisis. The National Mortgage Settlement would provide just $480 million to the entire state of Virginia.”
With this kind of shortfall, communities that do not have a strong activist group working on their behalf are particularly vulnerable.
But, there are other options, particularly for homeowners with VA loans. Georgiades explains, “VA-HLC has recently launched a new program,Homeowners Action Services (HAS), which has been set up specifically to assist eligible homeowners with VA home loans who are facing financial loss when selling their primary-residence homes, as well as those facing foreclosure as a result of the drop in home values.”
VA Home Loan Organization
HAS helps veterans, active duty military and their families stay in their homes by offering several mortgage payment-reduction plans, or help them sell their property – even if they do not have equity in their homes.
“VA-HLC provides free processing and counseling for all these options,” adds Georgiades. “HAS is about action for our veterans, active-duty military and their families.”
Meanwhile, back in Virginia, VOICE continues to lobby for loan modifications and other changes to help affected homeowners.
“With groups like VOICE and programs like VA-HLC’s HAS, we are beginning to make real progress,” said Geogiades. “It’s long overdue.”
For more information about VA home loans; or eligibility requirements and loan limits, as well as how VA-HLC helps veterans with VA loans, refinancing and foreclosure avoidance, call 888-573-4496 or visit http://www.vahomeloancenters.com.
About VA-HLC / VA Home Loan Centers
VA Home Loan Centers is a qualified lender of mortgage loans to United States Veterans. The VA loan program helps veterans, active and former duty military, and certain spouses of wounded, MIA or KIA United States service personnel achieve the American dream homeownership. Services provided by VA Home Loan Centers include real estate representation such as VA loan short sale processing, purchase assistance and VA loan application processing.