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September is National Preparedness Month

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RISMEDIA, Sept. 17, 2007-September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to prepare homes and families for emergencies. Along with first aid kits and food supplies for emergencies, it is important to prepare for urgent financial situations.”Something as simple as a broken pipe under your home’s foundation, or the temporary loss of a job, could leave you in financial straights, jeopardizing your home,” said Dwight Robinson, senior vice president of Corporate Relations and Housing Outreach for Freddie Mac. “Just as you would prepare emergency supplies for your home, you should be ready for emergency financial situations.”

Freddie Mac offers the following tips for getting your home and family ready for financial emergencies. The tips are from its CreditSmart(R) curriculum at http://www.freddiemac.com. The tips are available in Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese.

– Expect the Unexpected — From a minor plumbing problem to a tree
falling in a storm, homeowners are likely to face the need for
emergency funds. Having savings set aside for such emergencies will
help you through difficulty. If you do not have any savings for
emergencies, now is a good time to start. Even a small amount from
each paycheck set aside in a special savings account will help you
avoid using your credit cards or a high-interest loan in an emergency.

– Property Maintenance — One of the best defenses against unexpected
emergencies is a well-maintained home. Proper care of plumbing, roof,
and heating and air conditioning systems will help them last longer.
Keeping trees trimmed will lower the risk of limbs falling and damaging
property.

– Get an Insurance Checkup — As your life changes, so do your insurance
needs. When you get married or have a child, or when you buy a home,
car or high-value item, you should re-evaluate your insurance and add
coverage if needed. In some areas, you should check your coverage for
flood, earthquake or other disasters. (The federal or state government
administers some disaster policies, so check with your insurance
company for eligibility and coverage limits.) Also evaluate your
family’s health coverage. An unexpected illness or injury can be a
financial drain if you do not have adequate coverage. If you do not
have health insurance through your employer, you may be able to buy
your own coverage, or you may qualify for public health benefits.

– Check your Credit — An error on your credit report could put your
financial future at risk, making it difficult to obtain low-interest
credit cards or loans. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are
entitled to review your credit report annually. If you find an error,
you have the right to correct it. Call (877) 322-8228 or visit
http://www.annualcreditreport.com to request your free annual
disclosure.

– Prevent Identity Theft — Today, it is vital that you protect your
personal information. To avoid being a victim of identity theft, review
all your bank and credit card statements regularly. If you spot any
suspected fraud, notify your lender and get it resolved quickly. Many
local law enforcement agencies have identity theft bureaus to help you.

– If you Get Behind — A real fear for many homeowners is falling into
deep financial trouble and losing your home. If you are in financial
trouble, make your mortgage payment a priority. Ask for help early in
the process. Explain your situation to your lender and ask for advice
and assistance. You can also speak to a trained credit or
homeownership counselor who can advise you about your options. Typical
loan workout options would include: reinstatement, forbearance, loan
modification, and refinancing. Visit http://www.hud.gov or call
(800) 5696-4287 to find a housing counseling agency near you.

Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart series was designed to provide valuable information to consumers about building and maintaining good credit, understanding steps to buying a home and protecting their investment. CreditSmart addresses common barriers to homeownership including language, lack of knowledge of the home buying process, unverifiable income and lack of credit.

Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation established by Congress in 1970 to support homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac purchases single-family and multifamily residential mortgages and mortgage-related securities, which it finances primarily by issuing mortgage-related securities and debt instruments in the capital markets. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible more than 50 million times, ensuring financing for one in six home buyers and more than four million renters.

For additional information, visit: http://www.FreddieMac.com.

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