RIVERDALE – Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown announced Thursday that the state is lending a helping hand to Maryland families fighting to keep their homes.
The state awarded a grant of $12.8 million to the Maryland HOPE Counseling Network, which is comprised of 39 nonprofits across the state that provide counseling and assistance to people struggling to pay their mortgages. Since its founding in 2007, the network has serviced almost 83,000 families statewide. Prince George’s County accounts for a third of the total foreclosures in the state.
At a press conference at the Refreshing Springs Church of God in Christ in Riverdale on Thursday, Brown said assisting families facing foreclosure must be a state priority.
“Over the past six years we’ve made considerable progress in Maryland,” Brown said. “But that doesn’t mean anything to a family who is facing foreclosure.”
Sowing Empowerment and Economic Development, Inc., in Riverdale received an award of $42,800 from the grant. That money will be used toward moving to a larger facility and hiring a bilingual counselor to assist Spanish-speaking clients, according to SEED Executive Director Lisa Butler-McDougal. While the mortgage crisis is still ongoing, the county has come a long way over the past six years, she said.
“There’s no way that we are anywhere near where we were when we first started,” Butler-McDougal said. “We would get an average of 20 to 35 calls a day. Now we’re getting about 20 calls a week … the support that we’re getting from this settlement going to go a long way to make sure that we’re going to be able to continue to serve Prince George’s residents.”