Help for those facing foreclosure - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Help for those facing foreclosure

Story By Megan Boatwright

Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Hamilton County has the fourth highest foreclosure rate in Tennessee.

An average of six homeowners face foreclosure every day.

Leaders with the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise say they don't see this crisis ending anytime soon.

So they're spreading a message to struggling home owners that foreclosure isn't the only option.

"Signs go up pretty quick," says homeowner Ida Ward.

Ida Ward lives and works in a Brainerd neighborhood where the empty houses are easy to spot.

"Probably about 15 in this local area right here just in maybe four blocks," says Ward.

The Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE) group says it's a problem that's not going away.

"Homeownership in our city, county and in our nation is under siege right now because of so many foreclosures," says the CEO of Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise David Johnson.

Johnson used a map to make his point.

"As I mentioned there were 886 foreclosures in the city of Chattanooga," says Johnson.

That was last year. CNE says Hamilton County had 332 foreclosures in the first three months of this year. If the trends continues, the 2010 foreclosure total will equal or exceed 2009.

"Brainerd is one of the hardest hit communities in our city," says Johnson.

Ward says she's seen her home lose value recently. And she says foreclosures in her neighborhood are to blame.

"Our homes isn't worth half of what we thought it was," says Ward.

Johnson says the cost of foreclosure is always high and a single foreclosure in a neighborhood can reduce the values of surrounding property by one percent.

"We provide foreclosure intervention counseling service in a comprehensive way," says Johnson.

The message CNE is sending out today is that there is help.

The counselors can help you work out a payment plan with your mortgage company.

CNE say 212 of the 219 people who came to them for help last year were able to keep their homes.

You can go by the CNE office on Market Street.

Or call the hotline at 664-HOME (4663).

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