Through community-based partnerships and legislative advocacy USBC has increased the availability of safe, decent and affordable housing for low and moderate-income New Mexicans. In addition to being an active promoter of fair housing, USBC is the statewide leader in foreclosure prevention.  

 
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Foreclosure Prevention

 

USBC offers a “one-stop-shop” for the two most important resources needed to help struggling homeowners resolve a mortgage delinquency or residential foreclosure: 

  • HUD-certified housing counselors

  • Legal representation (attorneys)

We also offer free workshops and assistance with court mediation.


HOUSING COUNSELING

HUD-certified housing counselors negotiate with lenders to help homeowners get back on track with affordable mortgage payments after a financial crisis.  This is called “loss mitigation,” and is the most common way to resolve a mortgage delinquency or foreclosure.  Housing counselors do not provide legal advice.

Here's how one of our counselors can help you:

  • A HUD-certified housing counselor can help a struggling homeowner even before there is a legal case. If a homeowner is about to fall behind on mortgage payments, or is already behind but not yet in foreclosure, USBC’s HUD-certified housing counselors review the homeowner’s mortgage and finances and explain various plans to resolve the mortgage default, such as a loan modification, short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure. This process is known as “loss mitigation,” and is the most common way to resolve a mortgage delinquency or foreclosure.

  • The housing counselor assists with the application for loss mitigation, and advocates on the homeowner’s behalf with the lender.

  • If a homeowner is in foreclosure in the courts and does not have a lawyer, the housing counselor may work directly with the lender’s attorney on loss mitigation, and may assist the homeowner in court-ordered mediation. However, a housing counselor is never able to offer legal advice or represent a homeowner in court.

  • Requirements for USBC housing counseling services: the client must be the owner-occupant of the home. When there is more than one party on the mortgage note (the loan) all parties must participate in housing counseling. USBC requires clients to travel to Albuquerque for at least one face-to-face conference; thereafter, communication may be handled by telephone, email, FAX, or U.S. mail. There is no income cap for USBC housing counseling.


LEGAL REPRESENTATION & WORKSHOPS

Attorneys from USBC’s Fair Lending Center represent defendant homeowners in foreclosure cases in the New Mexico district courts.  Our attorneys also offer weekly workshops for homeowners who have received a summons and complaint for foreclosure. 

Here's how our attorneys and educational workshops can help homeowners:

  • If a homeowner is in foreclosure in the courts, and is not represented by legal counsel, s/he may apply to USBC’s Fair Lending Center for full legal representation in the case.

  • Whereas there is no income cap for housing counseling, there is an income cap (generally 200% of federal poverty guidelines) for full legal representation.

  • However, the Fair Lending Center also offers to all defendant homeowners, regardless of income, free attorney-led weekly workshops that explain the foreclosure process in detail and what homeowners must do to participate in their cases. Participants learn how to prepare and file an answer to the foreclosure complaint, and receive a 30-40 minute consultation with an attorney about the homeowner’s specific foreclosure case.
    See our calendar of upcoming workshops here.

  • Some district courts offer court-facilitated mediation in foreclosure cases. USBC’s housing counselors and attorneys assist homeowners who participate in court mediation programs to resolve their foreclosure cases.
    Learn more about court-facilitated mediation here.

 

COURT MEDIATION

Some district courts offer court-facilitated mediation in foreclosure cases.  USBC’s housing counselors and attorneys assist homeowners who participate in court mediation programs to resolve their foreclosure cases.

Here's how our housing counselors can help you:

  • The First, Second and Thirteenth Judicial District courts have formal foreclosure mediation programs, and smaller courts may offer mediation, as well. Mediation stops, or “stays” the foreclosure for a period of time to allow defendant-homeowners to negotiate with the plaintiff-lender before the stay is lifted and the case proceeds in court.

  • If the defendant-homeowner is participating in mediation, s/he will find it valuable to attend USBC’s free weekly pro se legal clinic, which covers the basics of a foreclosure, and includes a one-on-one conference with an attorney after the workshop.

  • If the homeowner in mediation is not represented by an attorney and needs assistance preparing an application to their lender for loss mitigation, a USBC housing counselor will help the homeowner prepare the application, and may also be available telephonically or in person at the final mediation conference to assist the homeowner on matters concerning the application.

  • If the homeowner in mediation is represented by a USBC attorney, the USBC housing counselor will assist the homeowner to prepare the application for loss mitigation and then will transfer the application to the USBC attorney for submission to the lender’s attorney. From there on, the homeowner will communicate with the USBC attorney, rather than the housing counselor.

 
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Fair Housing

 

Fair Housing means that every person has the right to choose for themselves where to live.  Why is fair housing important?  Where you live can affect every part of your life.  It will help to determine which community you belong to, where you work, and where your children go to school.  All of these things have long lasting effects on you and your family.  If you are prevented from living in the neighborhood you choose because of discrimination, this is a violation of your rights!

In order to make sure everyone has equal access to housing, the United States passed the Fair Housing Act of 1968. 

This federal law prohibits discrimination concerning the rental, sale, financing, and insurance of residential housing.  The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of a person’s:

  • Race

  • Color

  • National Origin: whether or not you were born in the United States

  • Gender

  • Religion

  • Family Status – Families with children under the age of 18

  • Mental or Physical Disability

In addition, the New Mexico Human Rights Act and other laws provide protection to the following protected classes:

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Spousal Affiliation

  • Gender Identity

 

Do you have a Fair Housing complaint?
 

Please read the questionnaire below.  Each of the situations described are violations of the Fair Housing Act.  If you have experienced any of these situations, you may be able to file a complaint with HUD.  We can help.  Please complete the form below the questionnaire so that we can contact you, and click 'Submit.' All information provided will remain strictly confidential.

 

 
Has a housing provider told you the apartment, house, or condominium is not available, when in fact it has not been rented or sold?
Has a housing provider refused to rent or sell to you because you are a member of one of the protected groups?
Have you been given different terms or rules than others because you are a member of one of the protected group?
Have you seen written statements in a newspaper or been told by the property owner or its representative a statement that indicates preferences or limitations for certain people. This includes any ad or brochure that is created by the owner of the property.
Has someone attempted to prevent you from renting or buying a house in a neighborhood by suggesting that you will not be safe or that neighbors may not want you to move in.
Have you been told by a housing provider they don’t rent to families with children?
Has a housing provider propositioned you for sex in exchange for making repairs or getting a break in the rent?
Have you experienced unwelcome sexual advances, physical or verbal contact?
Have you been told by a housing provider that you are not allowed to have visitors who are members of a protected class?
Name *
Name
 

 

See a history of USBC Housing Initiatives here