10th Judicial Circuit Establishes Program to Mediate Foreclosures

Jun 28, 2010, 15:03 ET from Collins Center for Public Policy

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida covering Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties is implementing a program to help reduce the high number of home foreclosures. While recent data from RealtyTrac indicated that Florida's foreclosure activity was down 25 percent from 2009, the state still had the nation's third-highest foreclosures in April, behind Nevada and Arizona.

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The Collins Center for Public Policy Foreclosure Mediation Program provides an opportunity for homeowners and their lenders to resolve the foreclosure case out of court and allow the homeowner to stay in their home if possible.

The Collins Center has partnered with the Central Florida Mediation Group to manage the 10th Circuit's mediation program. The program is provided at no expense to the homeowner.

"The key benefit of this program is that it gives homeowners and lenders the chance to talk privately with a neutral mediator and work towards a reasonable, practical solution," said Ned Pope, director of the Collins Center alternative dispute resolution program. "This meeting may be the first opportunity either party has had to sit down and discuss recent changes in the homeowner's financial situation and to discuss new solutions."

Prior to the mediation, homeowners meet with a HUD-approved financial counselor, at no cost to the homeowner. During this meeting, the homeowner works with the counselor to complete the financial documents they must bring to the mediation.

Since the Collins Center's foreclosure mediation program began in March 2009, the Center has managed approximately 6,000 scheduled mediations. More than 3,300 were settled successfully during mediation. An additional 900 were settled before mediation as a result of the Collins Center facilitating communication between the parties, for a total of 4,200 positive outcomes.

The Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases recommended in August 2009 that a managed mediation program be adopted in all circuits to help resolve the avalanche of foreclosure filings. The task force pointed to the Collins Center's foreclosure mediation program as a model. The Collins Center for Public Policy is a statewide nonprofit organization that is also managing mediation programs for foreclosures in the 1st, 11th, 12th, 14th and 19th circuits.

For information on the Collins Center, visit www.CollinsCenter.org.  

For more information on the Central Florida Mediation Group, visit www.centralfloridamediationgroup.com.  

CONTACT: Jon DeVries, Senior Vice President for Communications, Marketing and Development, 941-309-5321

SOURCE Collins Center for Public Policy