Worcester foreclosure mediation plan hits setback

As previously discussed on this blog, Worcester city council members have had very different views on the city’s foreclosure policy than the city’s manager. While some have supported implementing a city ordinance that would require homeowners with foreclosed properties to undergo mediation with their lenders, others have found the costs too high and the benefits too remote.

Worcester residents will not be surprised to find out that more disagreement appears to be brewing on this issue. City Manager Michael V. O’Brien has made a request to the city council that it not set a vote on the ordinance matter until after Dec. 31, 2013.

O’Brien bases the request on several factors. First, he notes that new regulations developed at the state level have only been in effect for a few months and their utility has not yet been fully determined. Second, he states that the state will release recommendations on community foreclosure ordinances later this year which may shed light on the situation. Making a decision before these factors are developed may therefore not provide council members with all of the information they need.

Several members of the city council have been outspoken about the need for a city-level ordinance to combat the area’s real estate foreclosure problem. While some people are able to work with their lenders to make changes to their mortgage terms, others need assistance to make their banks and mortgage holders listen.

It is yet to be determined if the council will respect the city manager’s recommendation. Although foreclosures are down in Worcester and across the rest of the state, many people are still struggling to make their real estate payments and to keep a roof over their heads.

Source: Worcester Telegram, “Worcester city manager ways council to delay acting on foreclosure mediation idea,” Nick Kotsopolous, Sept. 22, 2013