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Meeting aims to stop foreclosures
Congressman Johnson to hold 'Save the Dream' rally

CONYERS - U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson will hold a town hall meeting this month geared toward helping homeowners who are struggling to avoid foreclosure.

Johnson, D-Decatur, is calling it the "Save the Dream" pre-foreclosure town hall meeting that will bring mortgage lenders together with homeowners. Officials with the Federal Housing Authority will also attend the meeting and provide free counseling.

The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 25, at Salem Bible Church, located at 5460 Hillandale Drive in Lithonia.

Johnson, whose district includes DeKalb, Rockdale and Gwinnett counties, explained in a printed statement that he hoped to "stem the tide of foreclosures that has plagued the Fourth Congressional District."

"To help rein in this wave of foreclosures, I've invited distinguished guests, but more importantly mortgage lenders, to begin the process of rewriting some of these subprime loans that have caused so much pain," he said.

Homeowners who attend the town hall meeting and who are behind on their mortgage payments can begin the process of having their eligible loans rewritten or participate in workshops and counseling sessions depending on their needs, according to the statement.

Presentations on the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, the Neighborhood Stabilization Plan and homeowners' rights during the eviction process will also be part of the agenda.

Johnson encouraged community leaders, pastors, neighborhood associations and public officials to come out and take the pre-foreclosure information back to their communities.

Foreclosures in Rockdale County have continued at a record pace since mid-2007 and are showing no signs of easing based on first quarter foreclosures ads placed in the Citizen's legal section.

In the first three months of this year 625 foreclosures were recorded, which represented a 32.6 percent increase from the first quarter of 2008.

The Citizen ran 1,997 foreclosure legal ads in 2008. So far this year, 895 foreclosures have been recorded.

Residents seeking to have their mortgage rewritten are asked to bring the following to the town hall meeting:

· A hardship letter that explains the reason the homeowner is requesting a loan modification;

· Recent pay stubs, tax returns, a property tax bill, if not wrapped into the mortgage;

· Homeowner's insurance bill, if not part of the mortgage payment;

· Bank statements going back to the previous two months; and

· Mortgage documents or HUD settlement statement and note. If not sure, bring all documents from the closing.

For more information, e-mail Betty Dixon at betty.dixon@mail.house.

gov or call her at 770-987-2291.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: At a glance

· What: "Save the Dream" pre-foreclosure town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Hank Johnson. Mortgage lenders will meet with homeowners looking to avoid foreclosure. Lenders will be able to rewrite qualified loans. Free Federal Housing Authority counseling will also be available.

· When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 25.

· Where: Salem Bible Church, 5460 Hillandale Drive, Lithonia.

· For more information: E-mail Betty Dixon in Johnson's office at betty.dixon@mail.house.gov or call at 770-987-2291.