Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Calls Are Coming

New Jersey's new foreclosure program with the hotline appears to be working. People are at least calling the number. That is start. Now the modifications need to go through and the results publicized, heavily. From an article in Star Ledger titled Blackout leaves foreclosure line unable to answer to answer residents' calls we are given more information about the program. Lets take a look -

A statewide foreclosure prevention hotline that began Friday has been unable to handle the overload of calls, said David Wald, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office.

"The response has been pretty phenomenal," he said.


[Melville D. Miller Jr., president and general counsel of Legal Services of New Jersey,] noted that by 2 p.m. yesterday, the hotline's three dozen staffers had received 6,000 calls.


He urged residents to continue trying to call the hotline. Legal Services is planning to set up an e- mail address -- possibly as early as today -- to supplement the hotline, Miller said.

The hotline, 1-888-989-5277, is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The good news
  1. People are calling!!! (yes that deserves 3 !)
  2. The hotline and services right up until the sheriff sells the property to someone else.
  3. The services include free credit counseling and (contingent on income) free legal services.

The bad news -
  1. Not enough staff (36 people to run the whole program?)
  2. Hours are too limited (why no nights and weekends?)
  3. The website (it needs work and should have some interactive pages for people to submit their info there).
At least that is what we are seeing right now. Forget the email address, get an interactive page where people can submit some data. Have an option for those who have already received notices (and possibly the type of notice), so they can be contacted immediately.

At this point we need foreclosure triage. Save the folks that can be saved but the situation is dire. Then work with the ones that are concerned about the foreclosure one day happening to them.

But it sounds good to us so far.

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