Need help for the long run? Better Family Life offers counseling on mortgages | St. Louis Public Radio

Need help for the long run? Better Family Life offers counseling on mortgages

Jul 31, 2008

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 31, 2008 - A marathon foreclosure counseling session this weekend hosted by Better Family Life, a St. Louis nonprofit, is expected to serve several hundred distressed homeowners in 24 hours, said Maurice Washington, director of the agency's housing program.

And in a sad sign of the times, Washington noted that the event might qualify for a Guinness World Record as the first marathon counseling session of its type.

The marathon will be held in the gymnasium of St. Louis Connect Care, 5535 Delmar Boulevard, beginning at noon on Saturday. The event will run through the night until noon on Sunday, with housing counselors working staggered shifts to advise beleaguered area homeowners. Limited mortgage assistance of up to $1,500 could be available in some cases.

Mayor Francis Slay is scheduled to speak Saturday at about 12:30 p.m.

Washington said the marathon is attracting media attention because of its unusual approach, but the intent was simply to reach a backlog of people who are unable to seek help during the agency's normal business hours.

"This is about helping the people, and we wanted to make sure that anybody -- no matter what their hours are -- can find help," Washington said.

Better Family Life fields about 30 to 40 calls a day about foreclosure, Washington said. The agency is one of five nonprofits that make up the St. Louis Alliance for Homeownership Preservation.

What you need to know

To reach Better Family Life, call (314) 367-1843

Clients are asked to bring:

  • Latest mortgage statement and any loan modification agreements
  •  Original loan documents
  •  Foreclosure correspondence, including letters from lenders and attorneys
  • Driver's license or other photo ID
  • Pay stubs from the past month and tax returns from the past two years
  • Bank statements from the past two months
  • A letter describing the client's hardship
  • $12 for a credit report fee
  • Current utility statements
  • Bankruptcy documents
  • Verification that property taxes are current
  • Documents related to hardship, such as bills for health care bills or dependent care