Helpful resources and upcoming events


For the latest videos, news and resources updated through 2012 - visit the new Foreclosure Task Force website .


Free Foreclosure Assistance Workshop

Date: Thursday, May 19, 2011

Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) Office – 1455 Pine Ridge Rd., Naples FL 34109

Sponsor: Collier County Foreclosure Task Force, a grassroots pro bono initiative promoting foreclosure prevention since 2008 through education and intervention

Are you looking for answers to foreclosure related questions? Join us at the Free Foreclosure Assistance Workshop to learn about alternatives to foreclosure, including loan modifications, short sales, Deeds in Lieu of foreclosure – and the steps you can take to save your home.

Format: An expert panel will discuss ‘hot topics’ related to foreclosure, and provide literature and other free resources to assist you. Pro bono attorneys, real estate professionals and representatives from participating agencies will be stationed at ‘booths’ to speak with you individually and answer questions. This is a 100% pro bono initiative – no one who attends will be solicited for any service or business.

Topics Include: Understanding your rights; the Foreclosure process; how loan modifications work; understanding the major Federal Foreclosure Assistance Programs – including HAFA and HAMP; avoiding foreclosure rescue scams; HOA’s and foreclosure; deficiency judgments; asset protection and the impact of foreclosure on your credit rating; tax implications of foreclosure; avoiding unlawful or prohibited transactions; how the new ‘Hardest Hit’ fund works; understanding Bankruptcy; and how to cope with the stress.

Participating agencies include, but are not limited to: Legal Aid Service of Collier County, Collier County Bar Association, Housing Development Corp. of SW Florida, Inc., Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, Naples Area Board of Realtors, Collier County Code Enforcement, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Collier County School District, NAMI, Treatment Works!, and the Naples Daily News.

Representatives from Fannie Mae and the Florida Department of Financial Services will be present, as will lenders representatives, including, but not limited to: J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., Bank of America, Wells Fargo, SunTrust Mortgage and GMAC.

See the Flyer for the event. .

Look for articles by members of the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force in the Naples Daily News in the weeks leading up to the Free Foreclosure Assistance Workshop on May 19th.

For more information, call Legal Aid at (239) 775-4555.

STAY TUNED -Details on the formation of a new initiative, the 'Economic Recovery Task Force.'

To learn about local resources available to business owners, visit the Prosper in Paradise Business Tools section of Collier County's official website .


Members of the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force conducted a comprehensive 3 hour Workshop on the topic of foreclosures in Collier County before the County Commissioners. The presentation included an overview concerning the level of foreclosures in Collier County and related effects, the response by the Task Force to the foreclosure 'crisis,' and recommendations. A detailed overview of the state of the local economy was included in the presentation. The Workshop was broadcast on CTV Channel 97 in Collier County.

To view the video archive of the Workshop before the Board of County Commissioners, click here .

To view the complete Powerpoint presentation to the BCC by the Task Force, including a comprehensive overview of local economic conditions, foreclosure mapping and statistics, the coordinated community response to the crisis, and the Task Force's recommendations, click here .

Matrix of Resources - download a free brochure listing local resources available to those facing foreclosure in Collier County

9 Numbers you need to know:
1. Legal Aid Service of Collier County - (239) 775-4555. Non-profit providing free legal services to qualifying low-income individuals and households.
2. Collier County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service - (239) 252-8138. Find a local attorney to assist you.
3. Housing Development Corporation of SW Florida, Inc. - (239) 434-2397. Non-profit agency providing free foreclosure intervention counseling.
4. Florida Attorneys Saving Homes ('FLASH') pro bono program - toll free at (866) 607-2187. See below for more information.
5. HOPE NOW - Voluntary coalition of lenders and servicers across the country. Call toll free - (888) 995- 4673.
6. Countrywide - (800) 669-6607. If you are a Countrywide borrower, call to see if the recent settlement between the Florida Attorney General's Office and Countrywide renders you eligible for new options or opportunities to save your home.
7. Florida Attorney General's consumer hotline - (866) 966-7226. Call to report suspected mortgage fraud.
8. Collier County Code Enforcement - (239) 252-2440. Call to report a property with suspected code violations. You can do this anonymously. Keep neighborhoods safe and attractive!
9. Collier County Sheriff's Office - (239) 775-TIPS. Call this number to join the Community Safety Team initiative. You can also anonymously report any suspicious activity on abandoned or otherwise vacant properties. Help fight crime!

The new statewide 'FLASH' hotline - for those in pre-foreclosure status looking for pro bono legal assistance. A pro bono attorney may be able to negotiate with your lender in an effort to avoid foreclosure and allow you to remain in your home. See the below blog post dated July 30, 2008. The toll-free Hotline number is (866) 607-2187. The Tampa Tribune recently published an article on the 'FLASH' program . You must call between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. This program prioritizes those seeking to save owner-occupied 'homesteaded' property, for folks who are currently 'economically disadvantaged.' Contact the program for further details.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Florida lenders agree to voluntary 45 day foreclosure delay

Breaking news - Governor Crist announced today that representatives of the banking and mortgage lending industries in Florida have announced they have urged their members to observe a voluntary 45 day cessation of filing new foreclosure petitions or the scheduling of foreclosure sales . This voluntary initiative pertains to 'homesteaded property' only.
Alex Sanchez, President and CEO of the Florida Bankers Association, joined Governor Crist in making the announcement. Representatives from other financial institutions were also present.
Governor Crist encouraged lenders to continue their efforts to actively negotiate with struggling homeowners during the coming months to help people stay in their homes.

Lenders reaching out to borrowers - stay tuned

The New York Times reports that lenders are becoming proactive, reaching out directly to explore loan modifications to assist borrowers .
A growing trend is emerging, with lenders and servicers willing to focus on 'affordability' in crafting loan modifications. Specifically, the trend is to work to keep housing cost 'debt-to-income' ratios at no more than 38% of gross monthly income. To achieve this level of affordability, lenders would have to be willing to reduce interest rates, extend the repayment term (ex. from 30 years to 40 years), or possibly defer or otherwise reduce principal. Housing costs would include principal, interest, property taxes, and homeowners insurance ('PITI'). By way of example, if the gross monthly income in the household is $3,000, a loan modification with housing costs of not more than $1,140 per month - or 38% of gross monthly income - would be explored.
Not all borrowers will be eligible for this or any other kind of loan modification. On a positive note, however, it appears that many lenders are becoming more flexible - and aggressive - in trying to work with borrowers to keep homes out of foreclosure.

Studio 55 interviews Legal Aid on foreclosure prevention resources

Carrie Wise of Studio 55 and the Naples Daily News interviewed Foreclosure Task Force member Jeffrey Ahren of Legal Aid Service of Collier County about the resources available to local residents facing foreclosure .

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Florida settles Countrywide lawsuit with Bank of America

Attorney General Bill McCollum announced that Florida and several other states have reached a multi-million dollar agreement in principle with Countrywide , a newly acquire subsidiary of Bank of America.
The agreement could provide nearly $1 Billion in relief to Florida homeowners, including more than 57,000 borrowers with qualifying Countrywide mortgages. According to the press release by the Florida Attorney General's Office, "approximately 52,000 Florida borrowers are anticipated to receive a loan modification under this plan."
If you have a loan with Countrywide, you may be eligible for the 'loan modification program,' 'foreclosure relief,' or other relief that may be available as a result of the settlement agreement. The press release by the Attorney General's office indicates that consumers can call Countrywide toll-free at 1 (800) 669-6607 for additional information.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Frequently asked questions about the Housing bill in effect October 1st

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) website has a comprehensive FAQ section about the new housing bill in effect starting October 1st which involves the 'Hope for Homeowners' provision. The website also includes step by step overview of how the program works .
The HUD wesbite is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the program. There are features including links to forms, sections for borrowers, lenders, credit/foreclosure counselors, and examples concerning the concept of 'shared appreciation.'

Details on the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

The 'Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008' (HERA) - the bill President Bush signed into law back in July - is now in effect as of October 1, 2008. The Mortgage Bankers Association has produced an excellent summary of this new law . The portion of the law many people were anxious to learn more about is the 'Hope for Homeowners' section, giving the FHA $300 billion in mortgage insurance authority. Qualified homeowners may be able to refinance out of an existing loan on their primary residence into a new, affordable loan with a reduced principal balance and interest rate. The new loan would be insured by the FHA. The existing lender would have to agree to the required reductions. The principal amount of the "new" loan cannot exceed 90% of the property's current value. The loan has to be a 30 year fixed rate loan.
There are many eligibility requirements for borrowers. For example, the existing loans must have been originated before January 1, 2008, and borrowers must have "debt to income ratios" of greater than 31% as of March 1, 2008. Those accepting new loans must agree not to place 'junior liens' on the property for 5 years - this would include second mortgages or HELOC's during that period. There is also a 'shared appreciation' provision, with phased-in vesting. After 5 years, the borrower and government would "share" equity at 50% each on sale of the property.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Federal government may create an entity to take over banks' bad debt

Late breaking news on September 18, 2008 - the U.S. government may create a new entity like the Resolution Trust Corp. during the Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980's and early 1990's that will take over banks' bad debt. This may result in alleviating the 'credit crunch' that has driven up the cost of borrowing for businesses. With more 'liquidity' in markets, banks may once again be able to make housing loans on a wider scale to credit worthy borrowers who would like to buy homes, but are presently having difficulty securing financing.
One hope would be that this would eventually help reduce the glut of inventory of homes for sale, by making credit easier for buyers who qualify.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Collier County Foreclosure Task Force profiled in BUSINESS CURRENTS

The Collier County Foreclosure Task Force was featured in the August, 2008 edition of
Business Currents
, a prestigious monthly business magazine circulated widely throughout Southwest Florida. The article chronicles how the Task Force was formed, and how numerous individuals, organizations and agencies joined forces to assist homeowners facing the prospect of foreclosure in Collier County. For those who may be interested, you can also learn how to become involved in this grassroots initiative.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The HOPE NOW Alliance is hosting an event on at the Estero Community Center on Friday, August 22, 2008 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. which is free and completely open to the public. The HOPE NOW Alliance consists of most of the major mortgage lenders throughout the country. This 'Alliance Day' event is an opportunity for you to meet directly and individually with representatives of these lenders to discuss possible solutions to problems you may be experiencing in keeping loan payments current. These representatives have the authority to enter into agreements with borrowers. Also present will be certified credit counselors and foreclosure prevention specialists from area non-profit agencies, including the Home Ownership Resource Center of Ft. Myers. The address for the Estero Community Center is 9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., Estero FL 33928. Free parking is available. For more information on the HOPE NOW Alliance Day event in Estero, you can email Larry Gilmore at .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fannie Mae's 'HomeSaver Advance' program

Fannie Mae's 'HomeSaver Advance' program is a new loss mitigation initiative designed to bring a cure to the delinquency on a first lien mortgage loan. Ask your lender or loan servicer if you qualify. Under the program, unsecured personal loans of up to $15,000 are available to qualified borrowers to cure arrearages when you have fallen behind on mortgage payments.
The program is designed to assist folks who can make payments under their current loan terms - but can't make up a few months of missed back payments. A temporary loss of a job that resulted in several months of missed payments may be one example - so long as new employment has been secured, and the mortgage payments can be made moving forward if the sum in arrears can be addressed under the loan program. There are several other restrictions - you can check out the Fact Sheet contained on the link above to learn more. You cannot be more than 9 months behind on your mortgage to qualify. You may be able to use the loan to make Homeowners Association payments that are outstanding, in addition to outstanding principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

President Bush signs sweeping new Mortgage Relief Bill

President Bush on July 30, 2008 signed into law a Bill intended to 'rescue' about 15% or so of the homeowners across the country in fear of losing their home to foreclosure in the next year or so. The measure includes $300 billion in new loan authority for the government to back cheaper mortgages for troubled homeowners - among many other provisions.
Stay tuned for further details, as the practical effects of the new law become more clear. Information as to eligibility and timelines should become more defined in approximately the next 60 days.

New Hotline offers help to those in pre-foreclosure

If you are a Florida homeowner not yet in foreclosure - but have already missed a mortgage payment or fear that you soon will - there is a new statewide pro bono project that may be able to assist you.
The Florida Bar, The Florida Bar Foundation, Florida Legal Services Inc. and the Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar have launched the FLASH (Florida Attorneys Saving Homes) toll free hotline (866) 607-2187 which will field calls from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hotline callers will answer a few initial questions to ensure accurate placement with pro bono attorneys, who will then negotiate with lenders on behalf of homeowners.
The hope is to create a relationship in which the lender and the homeowner can together create a loan that allows the homeowner to remain in the home and avoid foreclosure - a "win-win" situation for all involved. Learn more by visiting The Florida Bar's website .

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams

There are plenty of 'scam artists' out there looking to take advantage of folks who are desperately trying to avoid foreclosure. To protect yourself - learn more about the techniques used by the predatory agencies or individuals out there. The Federal Trade Commission has published an article on "Foreclosure Rescue Scams" that outlines the variety of tactics used to get your money. Don't become a victim. Never sign a document that you don't fully understand. Seek the advice of a competent attorney if you have any questions.

Managing your stress

Are financial difficulties starting to wear you down emotionally? You are not alone! The American Psychological Association in an article entitled "Managing Your Stress in Tough Economic Times" offers some helpful tips on how to deal with your stress over money and the economy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The May 22nd 'Save your Home' workshop in the news

The Naples Daily News detailed the 'Save Your Home' Workshop sponsored by the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force on May 22nd at Max Hasse Community Park. The article appeared on the front page of the print edition, and remains archived online.

An estimated crowd of at least 100 people attended the workshop. Those attending this free event received a 60-page foreclosure prevention booklet prepared by the expert panelists. Attendees also received advice and guidance on foreclosure issues during the two-hour event, and were given an opportunity to ask questions directed to the panel members.

Video of the 'Save Your Home' Workshop should be available on this website in the near future. The Task Force would also like to make DVD's of the workshop available to community groups, civic organizations, and non-profit entities to spread awareness about foreclosure prevention techniques and methods.

Thanks go out to all who participated.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SAVE YOUR HOME WORKSHOP - May 22nd at Max Hasse Community Park

The Collier County Foreclosure Task Force will be conducting a free foreclosure prevention workshop on Thursday, May 22, 2008 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Max Hasse Community Park, 3390 Golden Gate Boulevard West, Naples FL 34120. The SAVE YOUR HOME WORKSHOP is open to the public, and is completely free. Seating is limited.

An expert panel will be present to provide tips on foreclosure prevention, and to answer questions from the audience. Free literature will also be available to supplement the presentations of the panelists.

Panelists scheduled to appear include: Kathleen Passidomo, Esq., President of the Collier County Bar Association; Magistrate David Friedman; Sandra Rains of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service; Jeffrey Ahren, Pro Bono Coordinator/Development with Legal Aid Service of Collier County; Eddie Felton of the Home Ownership Resource Center (Ft. Myers); Kathy Patterson and Molly Whalen of the Collier County Housing Development Corp.; Celia Deifik, Esq. and Maureen Aughton, Esq. of the Real Estate Section of the Collier County Bar Association; Bankruptcy Attorney Stephany Carr, Esq.; Brian Williams, Esq.; and Appraiser Cindy Carroll, SRA of Carroll & Carroll, Inc.

This event will be videotaped, and will be posted online on this website in the near future.

This workshop has been underwritten courtesy of the Real Estate Section of the Collier County Bar Association. Special thanks also go out to the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, Videographer Mike Sturdevant of Legal Action Video, and Vivian Vedel Theriault of Paula Robertson & Associates.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Free Foreclosure Prevention 'Telethon' - May 17th from noon to 8:00 p.m.

The Home Ownership Resource Center (HORC) in Ft. Myers will participate in a Foreclosure Prevention Telethon on Saturday, May 17th as part of a coalition of various state, local, and non-profit community agencies joining forces to address questions about avoiding foreclosure, and related topics such as protection from financial fraud. The number to call between noon and 8:00 p.m. on May 17th is (239) 533-4663. Bilingual operators will be available. The HORC is an agency member of the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force.

Ten phone lines will be opened and manned by representatives to address questions and provide counseling. The telethon format provides convenience and anonymity for callers looking for assistance. Other participating agencies include: Lee County Housing Authority; Housing Authority of the City of Ft. Myers; Housing and Real Estate Division of the City of Ft. Myers; Cape Coral Housing Development Corp.; Florida Department of Financial Services; and Florida Office of Financial Regulation.

Listen to an archive of the Foreclosure Task Force's appearance on WGCU radio 90.1 FM

Listen to an archive of the May 13, 2008 edition of the "Gulf Coast Live" radio program on WGCU radio 90.1 FM. Kathleen Passidomo, Kelley Price, and Jeff Ahren appeared on behalf of the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force. This one hour show, hosted by Louis Hernandez, features questions on foreclosure law posed to the Task Force members by the host and callers. Simply go to the link, and click on the "listen" button pertaining to the May 13th edition of the program, and you can hear a complete version of the show.

Naples Daily News article on the Foreclosure Task Force

Read about the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force and upcoming SAVE YOUR HOME WORKSHOP in the Naples Daily News' article Foreclosure Task Force Aims to Help Collier Homeowners.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Free Homebuyer Education classes - May 12 & 19

The Collier County Housing Development Corporation (CCHDC) - a non-profit organization and an agency member of the Foreclosure Task Force initiative - is conducting free 'Homebuyer Education' classes on May 12 and May 19, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Fifth Third Bank located at 999 Vanderbilt Rd. in Naples. The classes span both nights. Topics such as finance, understanding credit, and budgeting and spending plans will be covered, among other issues pertaning to purchasing a home. Registration is required. You can register by calling (239) 434-2397, or by email at . Visit CCHDC's website at .

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Collier County Foreclosure Task Force in the news

The Collier County Foreclosure Task Force (FTF) was recently featured on Fox 4 News. Task Force member Kelley Price discussed the upcoming SAVE YOUR HOME workshop with reporter Justine Waldman.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Email the Task Force your questions about foreclosure

In advance of our free SAVE YOUR HOME seminar on May 22, 2008 at Max Hasse Community Park from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., we are asking anyone with questions for our expert panel members to send us an email - to let us know the questions you would like answered.

You can email the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force (FTF) at . One caveat - the questions must be general in nature, as the attorneys cannot give out specific legal advice through this forum. Please do not mention your personal information, or the names of any particular lenders.

We will try to provide the answers to as many general questions as we can - and we will alert you in advance if your question is chosen to be presented to our expert panel at the May 22nd event. The work performed by the FTF is free to the public (pro bono), through the cooperative efforts of the Collier County Bar Association and the Legal Aid Service of Collier County (LASCC). LASCC is a private, non-profit law firm providing free civil legal services to qualifying low-income individuals residing in Collier County.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Next Meeting of the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force

The Collier County Foreclosure Task Force (FTF) will conduct it's next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 8:00 a.m. at the offices of Legal Aid Service of Collier County, 4125 East Tamiami Trail, Naples FL 34112.

If you are interested in joining the FTF, please email us at .