As part of the National Mortgage Settlement funding for local efforts to help homeowners facing foreclosure, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today announced two grants totaling $215,000 to support mortgage foreclosure education and outreach to area community agencies. Attorney General Kilmartin announced a $155,000 grant to Progreso Latino to expand the agency's Better Living Project and a $60,000 grant to HousingWorks RI to research and report on foreclosures and foreclosure prevention programs over the next three years.
"As Rhode Island's economy continues to remain stagnant and unemployment high, too many families struggle to pay their bills and many are in danger of foreclosure, particularly in immigrant communities" said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Progreso Latino has a strong connection to the Latino community and understands the challenges that community faces in connecting with available housing resources."
The four central activities of the Progreso Latino Better Living Project are direct support counseling to individuals and families facing foreclosure, housing workshops, computer literacy and adult education with a focus on accessing and understanding housing resources and services, and a public information campaign targeting minority and immigrant homeowners.
Mario Bueno, the executive director for Progreso Latino commented, "We look forward to working with the community to develop an impactful grass-roots education campaign that makes a difference in the lives of those most in need. We also look forward to working in collaboration with the Attorney General's Office and other grantees in order to coordinate efforts and maximize resources."
HousingWorks RI will use the funds to support its work analyzing foreclosures in each Rhode Island municipality and the affect these foreclosures are having on their surrounding communities.
"Just as important as getting resources to struggling homeowners is having data-driven analysis of the housing market and the foreclosure crisis in Rhode Island to guide policies on how to improve the market," added Attorney General Kilmartin.
"This $60,000 grant will enable us to offer up-to-date research and analysis on foreclosures throughout Rhode Island," said Nellie M. Gorbea, executive director for HousingWorks RI. "This research is important not only for the state to recover from the current foreclosure crisis, but to inform policy discussions on how to prevent another in the future. We appreciate Attorney General Kilmartin's recognition of the importance of informed policymaking."
HousingWorks RI is slated to release its first quarterly report on foreclosures in Rhode Island this March.
Previously, Attorney General Kilmartin announced a two-year, $1.57 million grant to Rhode Island Legal Services (RILS) to fund the Foreclosure Prevention Project, as well as a $375,000 grant to the Housing Network of Rhode Island for homeowner counseling, homebuyer education and outreach.