LAHAINA - West and South Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey and Sen. Roz Baker last week participated in a briefing on the state's foreclosure picture for Hawaii's Congressional delegation.
The briefing was conducted by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) in Honolulu.
Requested by Hawaii's Congressional delegation, the meeting covered recently passed legislation to assist distressed homeowners and the status of the state's outreach efforts to help homeowners facing foreclosure to access certified HUD housing counselors and avoid being victimized by scams.
The briefing addressed consumer protection issues, including continuing bad practices of some mortgage servers, and the importance of using certified housing counselors that can assist Hawaii residents prior to foreclosure and help homeowners once a notice of foreclosure has been received.
DCCA is helping to train counselors employed by third party non-profits, such as Maui's Hale Mahaolu.
These counselors will work directly with Maui residents who may be susceptible to mortgage scams or need help with the loan modification or refinance process.
"While in a mortgage crisis, our residents may find that most people want to help," said McKelvey. "However, our residents and kupuna must be reminded that there are those that prey upon victims during their weakest moments."
Sen. Baker noted, "There is help available for Maui County homeowners at no cost from certified HUD housing counselors in the community. Be wary of anyone who asked for money upfront to help you out!"
Residents are encouraged to check out the Housing Foreclosure Information Center (HFIC) website at www.HFIC.hawaii.gov. Created by the DCCA, the site features information, tips and resources, such as a listing of certified housing counselors throughout the state. The public can also file scam complaints at the site.
Hawaii's Congressional delegation, DCCA Director Keali'i Lopez, Stephen Levins of the Department of the Attorney General, Cecilia Fong from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Maui Judge Joseph Cardoza participated in the meeting.