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Minnesota to get $3 million for foreclosure counseling

With high foreclosure rates plaguing communities across Minnesota and across the country, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced that over $3 million in federal funding will go to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (Minnesota Housing) to provide counseling to families and individuals facing the threat of foreclosure.

"These programs will provide financial advice and counseling that can help Minnesota families facing foreclosure," said Klobuchar. "As we continue to focus on economic growth and job creation, it is important that families have access to tools they can use to stay in their homes."

"While some foreclosures are unavoidable, many of them can be prevented by the services of foreclosure counseling agencies all over Minnesota," said Franken. "These funds will give thousands of homeowners across our state access to the information they need to avoid foreclosure and stay in the homes they've worked so hard for."

The funds are awarded through NeighborWorks America's National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program. Since 2007, the NFMC program has provided foreclosure counseling to over 6,000 Minnesota households. According to the Minnesota Foreclosure Partners Council, housing counselors across the state have helped prevent 25,000 foreclosures since 2007. Today's NFMC funds will be allocated by Minnesota Housing to nonprofit counseling agencies across the state. Nationwide, over $67 million in funding was awarded for foreclosure counseling.

Earlier this year, Sen. Franken, along with Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), introduced legislation that would create an Office of the Homeowner Advocate to protect homeowners and assist them in dealing with the Home Affordable Modification Program, the Department of Treasury's foreclosure prevention initiative. Last year, Sens. Franken and Menendez called for a Government Accountability Office investigation into the fraudulent practices of mortgage servicers. Last month, they released the results of that investigation and pressed regulators to implement safeguards that would ensure that homeowners do not wrongfully lose their homes. Last week, Sen. Franken and 23 of his colleagues urged Senate leadership to restore funding to the Housing Counseling Assistance Program, which helps homeowners avoid foreclosure and provides other critical assistance to homeowners, renters, and seniors.