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Government Program Aims To Stave Off D.C. Foreclosures

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By Peter Granitz

Some Washington D.C. residents are hoping a federal program will help them stave off foreclosure. The Making Home Affordable Program is affecting area residents.

Foreclosures in Washington D.C. are down considerably from May 2009, but they are up nearly six percent from this past April. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says part of the problem is the unwillingness of some banks to refinance.

“We have a pitiful rate of modification of loans here in the District of Columbia, less than two percent,” says Norton.

Holmes Norton says the emerging financial regulation bill will police predatory lenders. Paula McMillan was willing to pay the $2,500 to the company that called her offering to refinance her home. With a disabled husband and living on a fixed income, she needed the help. But that help never came.

She learned she could have refinanced for free through the federal program, so her bank stopped payment to the predatory lender.

”But the people who contacted me from the 1-800 number weren’t very happy that I canceled that payment,” says McMillan.

Although McMillan says she thinks she’ll keep her home, others continue to lose theirs: 271 residents were foreclosed on in May.

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