Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Officials in San Diego are encouraging homeowners at risk of foreclosure to get help before it’s too late. But Mayor Jerry Sanders is also warning the public to be aware of scams. KPBS reporter Katie Orr has details.
There were more than 19 thousand foreclosures in San Diego County last year and officials says there could be more than 20 thousand this year if homeowners don’t reach out for help. But Sanders says people need to be cautious of scams that seek to take advantage of their situation.
“We’ve read horror stories and seen horror stories where homeowners have literally spent thousands of dollars to try to keep their home,” he says. “Only to find that it was a scam artists or somebody else who didn’t help them at all. They simply stripped of any other money that they had.”
There are free resources available for homeowners. The Housing Opportunities Collaborative is offering free clinics for people facing foreclosure. And the San Diego Housing Commission has created a new website with resources for homeowners. The Commission recently received $9.4 million to help first time buyers purchase foreclosed homes and to purchase, fix-up and rent out foreclosed properties. The number of foreclosures in San Diego County has increased 133 percent over last year. Sanders also says his foreclosure committee is recommending the city change its vacant property program to include homes that have been foreclosed on. That would let the city to monitor these properties for blight and allow it to better enforce neighborhood guidelines and codes.
Katie Orr, KPBS News.