COLUMBUS – Ohioans concerned about possible foreclosure just need to look up – at the billboards along the roadways.
State officials recently introduced the "Save the Dream" billboard advertisements, which highlight the state’s foreclosure prevention effort.
The billboards encourage Ohioans who are possibly facing foreclosure to call the Save the Dream hotline at 888-404-4674 or visit www.savethedream.ohio.gov.
Lt. Gov. and Director of Development Lee Fisher, Director of Commerce Kimberly Zurz, Treasurer Richard Cordray and Attorney General Nancy Rogers encouraged Ohioans facing the possibility of foreclosure to take action to save their dream of homeownership.
In June, RealtyTrac reported that Ohio was sixth among the states in the rate of foreclosures.
"The State of Ohio is focused on doing everything we can to help Ohioans stay in their homes," Fisher said. "The Save the Dream campaign directs Ohioans to the information and organizations they need to contact and work with to save their homes."
Lt. Gov. Fisher advised homeowners concerned about foreclosure to immediately contact their mortgage loan servicer, obtain information on the Save the Dream Web site, call the hotline, and work with a HUD-approved housing counselor and/or a pro bono or Legal Aid attorney.
The approximately 300 billboards are appearing at locations throughout the state during July and August in counties with the highest foreclosure rates as well as some rural counties, including Lucas, Seneca and Wood.
Since the Save the Dream campaign was announced March 13, there have been more than 15,000 unique visitors to the Web site and approximately 5,700 calls to the hotline. Approximately 2,900 Ohioans have received housing counseling and/or legal assistance through the Save the Dream campaign.
The multi-agency "Save the Dream" foreclosure assistance program consolidates numerous state resources and programs related to foreclosure into one program for citizens to access for assistance. Save the Dream provides Ohioans with:
• tips on how to contact and what to say to their mortgage loan servicer.
• information on how to contact a HUD-approved housing counselor.
• referrals to Legal Aid and attorneys statewide who have volunteered to provide legal services free of charge for eligible homeowners.
• links to local foreclosure prevention resources, such as the grass-roots Save Our Homes task forces that have been established in about two-thirds of Ohio’s counties.
• a model program for Ohio courts to use mediation in home foreclosure cases.
Attorney General Rogers highlighted how qualified homeowners are connected with Legal Aid lawyers and more than 1,300 attorneys statewide who have volunteered to provide legal services free of charge. Homeowners facing foreclosure can call the Save the Dream hotline to learn if they meet the income and other eligibility requirements to be connected with a pro bono or Legal Aid attorney. Basic income eligibility is 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, which is about $53,000 annual income for a family of four.