For more information, contact:
Commissioner Karen E. Positan,
Union County Human Relations Commission

County and State Officials Will Provide Guidance on Foreclosure Issues at Free Public Forum

Learn how to sign up for New Jersey’s Foreclosure Mediation Program

Union County, NJ — A public education forum, “Foreclosure: Moving From Fear To Positive Action,” will be held on Monday, October 18, 2010 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Helen’s Roman Catholic Church, 1600 Rahway Avenue, Westfield.   The event is free and open to the public.

The forum is designed to provide guidance to property owners fearing or facing foreclosure issues, and to help tenants in properties with foreclosure issues. On-site parking is plentiful and the facility is wheelchair accessible.

“Individuals and families in Union County are being impacted by foreclosure on their houses.  Some have already lost them, or are in the mediation process.  Others may be experiencing the fear and anxiety of not knowing whether or not they will be facing foreclosure in the near future,” stated Peter McTienan, Co-Chair of the Union County Human Relations Commission.   “We are trying to spread the word that there are free resources that are offered on a state and county level, options that are available, and positive actions that can be taken.”

“People in foreclosure wake up worried every day,” stated Caroline Petrilla, Esq.  “They do not know how to save their homes or how to ask for help.  This conference is about reaching out. We want these homeowners to know that they are not alone . The mediation program is designed to provide them with experienced advocates and neutral mediators to make sure that all possible ways of keeping their houses are explored with their banks.”

Ms. Petrilla is the Assistant Director of the New Jersey Public Defender’s Office of Dispute Settlement, and will be one of the key presenters. She will provide an overview of the New Jersey Foreclosure Mediation Program, and how to apply for the program and its services.

The New Jersey Foreclosure Mediation Program provides resources and referral information for distressed homeowners, including free state-appointed legal representation in mediation, and housing counselors who can assist with budgeting, financing, viable loan modifications and mortgage assistance programs.

“If you are in foreclosure now, or if you are concerned about your finances and want to avoid foreclosure, please come to the forum and learn about resources that can help you,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan.

At the forum, attendees will also gain an understanding of foreclosure proceedings, mediation from the court and lender perspectives, and details about resources available to those who are affected.

Union County Department of Human Services Director Frank Guzzo and Department of Parks and Community Renewal Director Alfred Faella will share information on the Union County Foreclosure Task Force, which they co-chair.   The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders created this Task Force in the fall of 2008 as the foreclosure crisis was beginning to intensify.

The mission of the Foreclosure Task Force is to help stabilize Union County neighborhoods by providing property owners and tenants with guidance on their legal rights and resources.

Foreclosure resource information will be available at the forum.

“This forum is especially timely, given the news this week that thousands of foreclosures across the country were simply rubber-stamped without regard to rightful proceedings,” said Sullivan. “Educating yourself is the first step toward taking positive action that may help improve your situation.”

For more information regarding the forum, contact the Union County Human Relations Commission, 908-889-9028.