Hotline for those facing foreclosure

LOS ANGELES The Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline -- which is being sponsored by Operation HOPE, a nonprofit banking and financial literacy organization, and the First American Corp., a financial group -- can help callers negotiate with lenders, apply for loan modifications, avoid foreclosure, purchase a more affordable house and restructure existing debt, said City Council President Eric Garcetti.

"Every day it becomes clear that the crisis in mortgage lending and foreclosures is the number one threat to our national economy," Garcetti said.

One out of 88 houses in California are in foreclosure, he said.

"We all have a stake in this crisis. This isn't about a few people who made bad choices. This is about society stepping up at a time of need and stabilizing our city, stabilizing our communities and stabilizing our country," Garcetti said.

A report released last year by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found the city of Los Angeles' economy could take an $8.3 billion hit this year as a result of the nation's foreclosure crisis.

Los Angeles had 716 foreclosures in the first quarter of 2007, 850 in the second and 1,177 in the third quarter, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa testified before a congressional subcommittee in November.

The city has committed $100,000 to foreclosure counseling.

Operation HOPE founder and CEO John Bryant called the mortgage crisis a "slow-moving train wreck."

"If you have a mortgage problem, guess what, you've got a car loan problem. You've got a credit card problem. You've got utility problems. You aren't answering the phone, unfortunately. You aren't checking your mail because you don't think any of it is good news," Bryant said.

Homeowners concerned about their financial situation were urged to call the hotline at (877) 592-HOPE or (877) 592-4673.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.