Helping homeowners in danger of foreclosure is the subject of new public service announcements unveiled today by the Ad Council in partnership with NeighborWorks America. The effort focuses on educating homeowners about where they can get help if they are at risk of foreclosure, including the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline.
Almost 334,000 households -- one in every 387 homes -- received a foreclosure-related notice in April, according to RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing company. Foreclosure filings were at almost 1 million properties in the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac, with an estimated 4 million homes at risk through the end of the year.
The new TV and radio spots, created pro bono by Cossette New York, continue a campaign that was launched in 2007. The spots, available in English and Spanish, use humor to urge at-risk homeowners to call 888-995-HOPE to start working toward a resolution. The HOPE hotline is the first step in a foreclosure prevention effort that involves many of the country's largest mortgage market companies and offers callers an opportunity to work with HUD-approved housing counselors for free.
Since 2007, the HOPE Hotline has received 2.6 million calls, with homeowners receiving more than 620,000 counseling sessions through the first two years of the campaign.
"Partnering with the Ad Council is critical to being socially responsible in the marketing community and the country as a whole. Foreclosure is the No. 1 byproduct of the late 2008 financial crisis, and Americans need a reliable source of concise and unbiased information when faced with mortgage payment problems," said Bill Oberlander, chief creative officer of Cossette New York, in announcing the project. "A well-balanced message of entertainment and education was used to debunk scammers and well-intentioned, misinformed family members. To get straight talk, go to the Hope Hotline first."
Established in 1991, NeighborWorks America offers access to home ownership and affordable, safe rental housing, working with low- to moderate-income families in 4,400 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It also trains community development and affordable housing professionals.