• Foreclosure assistance outreach program targets neighborhoods

    By: Maria Guerrero


    SEATTLE - Homeowners facing foreclosure could be getting help right at their doorstep.

    The city of Seattle teamed up with several local organizations to spread the word in neighborhoods with the highest number of foreclosures.

    Two non-profit staffers from El Centro de la Raza spent the morning canvassing Beacon Hill.

    They stopped along 18th Avenue South searching for homeowners facing foreclosure.

    The organization and others compiled a list of homes facing or in danger of facing foreclosure.

    Hundreds of families seek out El Centro de La Raza for help every year, but others feel too overwhelmed.

    "They're intimidated,” said Piero Prada, an intervention counselor for El Centro. “They're scared and a lot of the times they're embarrassed."

    Information about free foreclosure assistance available was delivered right to people's doorsteps.

    The Seattle City Council divvied up $150,000 among several organizations including El Centro de la Raza - to provide foreclosure outreach.

    Staffers went to each door on 18th Avenue so as to not single out the homeowner who is in danger of losing their house.

    "Once they've received a notice of trustee sale that they might as well vacate their property by the sale date, not understanding their rights, not understanding there's still time,” said Prada. “Obviously the sooner you respond to these notices the more options you'll have and hopefully save your house.”

    One of the challenges these organizations face is simply getting people to come to the door.

    Concepcion Romero had no idea the triplex she rents faces foreclosure.

    She's at least thankful for the help offered in her own language.

    "I think it's good because there are people that we don't know anything and it helps us learn and know how we can defend ourselves in the future," said Romero.

    Many others didn't answer the door; Prada had to leave pamphlets instead.

    Asked if he thinks the program is successful despite the challenge of people not answering the door, Prada said, "I think that if we can be there and kind of just show a face that we are there for them, then I think that's worth something."


    Organizations taking part in the foreclosure education outreach:

    El Centro de la Raza: (206) 957-4610

    Urban League of Greater Seattle: (800) 368-1455

    Solid Ground: (206) 694-6766

    Northwest Justice Project: (800) 606-4819

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