Md. Foreclosure Mediation Law to Help At-Risk Families

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a new law Thursday to help families facing foreclosure keep their homes.

The foreclosure mediation law, which takes effect July 1, helps level the playing field, the governor said.

"We believe that if a big mortgage company can pick up the phone to give you a loan, they should pick up the phone to discuss it before they begin foreclosure proceedings," he said 

Foreclosures have hit Maryland hard. Prince George's County has been called "ground zero." But the tide may be turning. In the first quarter of 2010, the number of foreclosures dropped 25 percent.

Rev. Kerry Hill, of the New Chapel Baptist Church in Camp Springs, believes "Prince George's County was targeted" because of the disproportionately high number of foreclosures.

The state of Maryland is offering help for anyone having trouble making mortgage payments via the Hope Hotline, a toll-free call (877-462-7555) or click on:

The Rev. Simon Bautista Betances, of the Canon for Latino Ministries, said the problem is acute in the Latino community because, "A lot of them are unemployed and undocumented."

The governor believes that by reducing foreclosures and increasing jobs Maryland will lead the country out of recession.

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