As Georgia’s foreclosure rate remains among the highest in the country, mortgage counselors say the toughest challenge isn’t the onslaught of new clients — it’s reaching out to those at risk of losing their homes.

(Source: AJC)

They tried to spread the word on Saturday when the Bringing Hope Home tour rolled into Atlanta in a blue and yellow bus plastered with 888-995-HOPE, the hotline for the foreclosure prevention group Hope Now Alliance, based in Washington, D.C.

It helped, too, to have Grammy winners Big Boi and Mary J. Blige on board.

“Anything they need from me, I’m here,” said Big Boi, an Atlantan and half of the duo OutKast. “I’d see all these boarded up houses and think ‘What’s going on?’ 

The tour of hard-hit cities, including Newark, Miami and Cleveland, made Atlanta its second stop. During stops in Reynoldstown, Kirkwood and downtown, celebs and counselors warned about for-profit counseling scams and urged people to call free resource centers. The number of calls from Georgians to the Hope hotline more than doubled in 2008.

“It’s free help, it’s confidential,” said Suzanne Boas, president of the Atlanta non-profit Consumer Credit Counseling Service, a service that handles hotline calls and local counseling. “You really don’t need to feel embarrassed — you do need to reach out.”

Read Jamie Gunbrecht’s full article “Celebs help spread foreclosure information” in the Atlanta Hournal-Constitution (April 18, 2009).

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