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A telephone hot line run by the Hope Now Alliance, a public-private partnership launched by the White House in October as a lifeline for homeowners facing foreclosure, appears to be leaving many callers more frustrated than hopeful.
The hot line’s counselors are supposed to help connect borrowers with lenders and try to work out loan modifications.
MSNBC’s John W. Schoen reported March 13 that a story about Hope Now generated hundreds responses, including complaints of “long wait times, lack of follow-up and relatively minor loan modifications that have failed to help.”
Kathy Turnbaugh of Altoona, Pa. wrote in an e-mail to MSNBC: “I spoke to someone there, and they promised to get back to me and haven’t… That was on Feb. 23. It is now March 6, and I still haven’t heard from them. My house is scheduled for a sheriff’s sale on April 9 … I need to save my home, but don’t know where else to turn.”
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.