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CFO Sink Talks about Solutions for Homeowners at Florida Housing Help Roundtable

12/18/2009

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE — Florida CFO Alex Sink today highlighted two initiatives she started to bring real, tangible help to Florida homeowners facing foreclosure, and heard from local leaders and community groups who are on the frontlines of tackling the state’s housing crisis.
 
At her Florida Housing Help roundtable today in West Palm Beach, CFO Sink brought together Mayor Lois Frankel, the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, local housing counselors and others concerned groups to discuss how they are working to help Florida citizens stay in their homes.  CFO Sink also heard from local area homeowners who were able to avoid foreclosure with the help of these community groups.
 
“I want to do everything I can to ensure struggling Florida homeowners can get real help and keep a roof over their heads,” said CFO Sink.  “Floridians are still facing huge challenges and today we were able to highlight multiple ways that they can get help -- either at one of my Housing Help workshops, with a volunteer attorney through the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes program, or at one of the many community organizations in the Palm Beach area dedicated to this kind of work.”
 
Palm Beach County has seen more than 27,500 foreclosure cases already this year. To help combat these statistics, CFO Sink’s Department of Financial Services has held seven Florida Housing Help workshops in the Palm Beach area, and over 70 around the entire state of Florida, since the beginning of 2009.
 
Joining CFO Sink at the table today were West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, HomeFree-USA-West Palm Beach Center Executive Director Michelle Mays, and representatives from the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Fair Housing Project, Elder Law Project, the Financial Literacy Council and other community organizations.
 
Also on hand were local homeowners Lucile Roberts and Lisa Udoakang.  Ms. Udoakang originally attended one of CFO Sink’s Florida Housing Help workshops, and because of the contacts she met there, she was able to get out of an expensive force-placed insurance policy and to address home loan modification with a trained counselor.  Ms. Roberts received help from the West Palm Beach Foreclosure Assistance Center and from Curt Sanchez of the Legal Aid Society.  Ms. Roberts was able to get her loan modified so that her payments were lowered and she now has an escrow account to pay her taxes and insurance in a timely manner. 
 
“I felt it was a big burden lifted off me when I left the Foreclosure Assistance Center,” Ms. Roberts said.  “These groups are persistent; they don’t give up. They safeguard your paperwork and were diligent in filing everything the lender asked for.  When the lender acted like they did not receive information, it was faxed back again and again until I finally received a workable payment that I could afford.”
 
Palm Beach County residents concerned about staying in their homes are encouraged to attend the next area Florida Housing Help workshop planned on January 19, 2010 from 5:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at the Cooperative Extension Service, Clayton Hutcheson Agricultural Services Center, located at 559 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach.  Details on CFO Sink’s work to help Florida’s homeowners and a calendar of upcoming Florida Housing Help can be found at http://www.MyFloridaCFO.com/FloridaHousingHelp.

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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices.