Craig briefs: Ritter announces foreclosure aid


Gov. Bill Ritter joined Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on Monday to announce a $6 million settlement with Countrywide Financial Corp. that will assist Coloradans facing foreclosure.

Gov. Ritter and Rep. Mark Ferrandino also announced that a foreclosure-deferment bill will be introduced this week.

"During this time of global economic crisis, it's critical that we provide relief to homeowners who are already caught up in the foreclosure process, and that we prevent additional foreclosures in the future," Ritter said.

"The Countrywide settlement and the foreclosure-deferment bill will help Colorado accomplish both of those goals by keeping families from losing their homes and the American dream."

The $6 million Countrywide settlement stems from allegations by the Attorney General's Office that Countrywide and its affiliates marketed and offered subprime and other high-risk loans.

The settlement will provide direct and immediate financial assistance to borrowers who are in default or facing foreclosure. An estimated 6,800 Colorado homeowners will benefit.

The settlement also provides $500,000 to the Colorado Division of Housing's Foreclosure Hotline (1-877-601-HOPE) for continued operation and expansion of one of the nation's best foreclosure-prevention programs.

The hotline has helped thousands of homeowners stave off foreclosure by connecting them with HUD-approved foreclosure counselors and other resources.

The foreclosure deferment bill - touted in Ritter's Jan. 8 State of the State Address and sponsored by Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. Morgan Carroll - will extend a 90-day foreclosure timeout to qualified homeowners so they can renegotiate their mortgages and craft new payment plans.

"This bill will require borrowers and lenders to take and share responsibility," Rep. Ferrandino said. "It will help responsible borrowers get back on track, stay in their homes and hold onto the American dream."

"Parts of my district are seeing 78 percent of homes in some state of foreclosure," said Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora. "Foreclosures don't just affect the people losing their homes; it affects their children, their neighbors, and their entire community. This bill should take a positive first step in helping people get out of foreclosure and on track toward staying in their homes."

"No state funding is used toward projects or programs related to the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline, and the $500,000 from the Countrywide settlement is vital to supporting its operation. I want to thank our Division of Housing for all their work with the partner agencies on this critical service," said Susan Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, which oversees the Division of Housing.

Heavy transport through Craig delayed

A wide load scheduled for transport Monday through Craig was postponed because of weather, a representative from Intermountain Rigging and Heavyhaul reported.

The load was to be 345 feet long, 20 feet wide and 16 feet, 6 inches high. The move has not been rescheduled, a company employee said.

Post office: Please keep mailboxes free of snow

With the arrival of snow, ice and difficult weather conditions, the Craig post office is asking postal customers to always clear a safe, accessible path to mailboxes.

Post office requests include:

• Make sure the mailbox is visible and free of snow and ice.

• Make sure mailboxes are safely accessible for letter carriers.

• Clear the mailbox area of snow, sleet, slush, ice and debris.

If mailboxes are blocked off and conditions are too difficult, letter carriers must consider safety and accessibility first and are instructed not to deliver to mailboxes and locations considered too difficult or unsafe to access.

For more information, call the Craig post office at 824-8506.


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