FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA, March 13, 2013 — This will undoubtedly be a memorable moment in time for Pennsylvania residents. That is because thousands of them are among the steadily growing rate of homeowners facing foreclosure over the past five years. Northwest Counseling Service, Inc., a Philadelphia-based real estate and housing-related counseling agency, is celebrating a longtime commitment to combating this trend by holding a 30-Year Anniversary and Fundraiser on April 11th at the White Marsh Country Club.
NWCS, which was founded in 1982, is a nonprofit agency that provides counseling services to residents who are buying a home, filing for bankruptcy, or losing their homes due to mortgage foreclosure. Many of the services include credit and money management counseling, pre– and post-purchase counseling, anti-predatory lending assistance, and foreclosure prevention services. As of 2013, the agency has served more than 110,000 clients and has saved more than 96,000 local homeowners from foreclosure.
Now at its 30th-year mark, the agency aims to celebrate its success of helping Pennsylvania homeowners by honoring counselors and clients.
“We have been so busy and so focused on helping and servicing clients that, believe it or not, this is our first celebration of our own success,” said NWCS President and CEO, Michelle Lewis.
The night will also serve as the agency’s first-ever private fundraiser. Up until this year, NWCS had provided services at no cost to clients through programs and grants funded by the City of Philadelphia, the Office of Housing & Community Development (OHCD), the office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and PHFA. But mandatory budget cuts have place a strain on all agencies around the state, which struggle to keep up with the increasing number of clients in need.
“In all of these years, we’ve never asked for private support or donations,” said Lewis. “But Pennsylvania homeowners need our help now more than ever, and with the looming budgets cut we can’t afford not to ask.”
The fundraiser will include a catered dinner, keynote speaker and honoree, as well as a private auction and items for sale to raise money. One of the guests invited to speak at the event is Floyd Tillman, a current client who received a modification on his and his daughter’s home mortgage, and also began the process of restructuring his business loan after seeking help from NWCS counselors.
“I was in the process of losing my home and I had co-signed on my daughter’s home. Northwest Counseling Service helped us cut the mortgages in half,” Tillman said. “Due to the economy and depression that the U.S. was going through, it not only affected my business but many others. I’m thankful that I had the courage to take the initiative to do something about my situation. It was not easy to come forth.”
One of the primary struggles for homeowners facing foreclosure is asking for help. NWCS has arranged to send their counselors on a series of workshops around the state to encourage at-risk homeowners to seek on-the-spot assistance.
“I would tell homeowners that there are many opportunities for them, they have to seek them and not be ashamed to ask for help when in need; that’s what it’s there for,” Tillman said.
During a recent foreclosure prevention workshop held at East Stroudsburg University organized by the National Real Estate Institute (NREI) and the American Society of Certified Housing Executives (ASCHE) in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), the Director of Business for NWCS, Mike Brown, said that the counselors “match [clients] with their mortgage company face to face and negotiate here on the spot. [The event] was set up as a one stop shop to help people in trouble. They can get help saving money on their energy bills, finding a job with CareerLink, or even credit counseling services.” Through this event, NWCS Master Negotiators were able to obtain eight on-the-spot loan modifications for Monroe County-area residents and counseling agencies.
Now as the inaugural fundraiser approaches, NWCS finds itself in a similar situation as its clients – appealing to private donors to get involved in the much-needed process of rebuilding their community.
“We were just like our clients who needed the help, but were afraid to ask,” said Lewis.
For more information about the Fundraiser, visit www.nwcsinc.org/30-Year or contact Northwest Counseling Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northwest Counseling Service, Inc. (NWCS) is a nonprofit organization that was founded for the purpose of providing real estate and housing-related counseling services to Philadelphia-area residents. Since opening its doors in 1982, the agency has earned a track record of saving 96% of homeowners from foreclosure, and has served more than 110,000 clients. In recent years, NWCS has been recognized as a “Chief Guest” by the Grace-Trinity Education Center; by the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame as a “Champion of Older Workers’ Outstanding Services”; has received the “Housing Advocate Award” from the Housing Association of Delaware Valley”; is a twice winner of the “Liberty Bell Award” for services for older workers from Mayor Michael Nutter and Mayor John Street; received the “Housing Hero Award” from the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania; and has received the “Best Practices Award”, “Best Counselor for the SE Pennsylvania Region Award”, and “HEMAP Excellence Award” from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.