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RISMEDIA, January 29, 2010—In an effort to keep more families from losing their homes, NCLR (National Council of La Raza), one of the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organizations in the United States, and Freddie Mac announced their partnership on a program that will provide personalized credit counseling free of charge to Hispanic homeowners who are more than 90 days behind with their mortgage payments.

“NCLR’s partnership with Freddie Mac on this program means that distressed minority homeowners can access effective, personalized housing counseling from trusted community organizations. This effort will strengthen our ability to replicate best practices and succeed in helping more Latino families stay in their homes,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR president and CEO.

According to the organization, the Borrower Help program consists of pilot programs in Phoenix, Chicago, the District of Columbia, and the Riverside/San Bernardino, California area, as well as a nationwide phone campaign that offer struggling minority homeowners the opportunity to review their credit status and options with trained, bilingual housing counselors from nonprofit organizations. Southwest Housing Solutions in Detroit and New Economics for Women in Los Angeles—community-based organizations that are members of the NCLR Homeownership Network (NHN)—are providing families with counseling through this program.

“NCLR is a trusted and tested organization with a track record for helping borrowers regain their financial footing and avoid unnecessary foreclosure,” said Dwight Robinson, senior vice president for Corporate Relations and Housing Outreach at Freddie Mac. “As part of Freddie Mac’s Borrower Help Network, NCLR will provide our delinquent borrowers with a strong and reliable guide to navigate the workout process.”

Freddie Mac is partnering with 13 nonprofit organizations in the Borrower Help Network and Borrower Help Center. The program’s goal is to reach people who may be reluctant to communicate with lenders and help them find a viable way to keep their homes by providing access to third-party counselors who can take a holistic approach to their credit picture. By working with trusted nonprofit organizations, Freddie Mac offers an alternative—one that borrowers may feel more comfortable with—to speaking directly with the lender when they are facing financial difficulties.

“An estimated 400,000 Latino families lost their homes to foreclosure in 2009,” said Murguía. “As foreclosure rates continue to grow, it is important for the Latino community and our nation that we create more innovative programs to help people keep their homes. The Borrower Help program offers a fresh approach to homeowner credit counseling.”

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