New Mexicans haven't been immune to the United States' home foreclosure crisis in the previous few years. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, around 17,000 mortgage loans in New Mexico are considered "seriously delinquent," and most of those loans are for homes in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. The UNM School of Law will be home to a four-day foreclosure assistance event Thursday-Sunday, March 15-18 to provide New Mexicans with access to financial and housing experts and banks.

"Reports indicate that as many as 85 percent of New Mexico homeowners lose their homes by default because they never respond to the foreclosure complaint," says UNM School of Law Professor Nathalie Martin. "Foreclosure is a confusing and emotional situation under the best of circumstances, and too many people either are just giving up or are trying to navigate the process without any help. As a result, families are losing their homes when they might be able to keep them."

The School of Law worked with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office, the United South Broadway Corporation/Fair Lending Center, members of the New Mexico Congressional delegation and many of the major banks in New Mexico, to create an event to help distressed homeowners around the state.

"Foreclosure is among the most pressing issues we see right now," said Assistant Attorney General Karen Meyers, head of New Mexico's Consumer Protection Division. "It's a national problem, but it's also very much a New Mexico problem, with one in every nine hundred households in our state facing some sort of foreclosure issue."

Those homeowners who are currently in foreclosure, who might be falling behind on their mortgages or who need to sell their homes will receive assistance from financial and housing experts at this event.  Thursday will be a full day of classes for attorneys, housing professionals and the general public and Friday through Sunday housing counselors, consumer education seminars and banks will be meeting with those New Mexicans who need help avoiding foreclosure.

Homeowners are encouraged to plan on spending half a day at the event and to bring all of the documents required by banks in order to process a loan modification request. A full list of these documents is available at Helping Homeowners, along with a schedule of events and an updated list of participating banks.

Media Contact: Benson Hendrix (505) 277-1816; email: bhendrix@unm.edu