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Homeowners facing foreclosure can dial 3-1-1

Community programs offer education, counseling

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Baltimore residents in danger of falling behind on their house payments can now dial 3-1-1 for advice from a mortgage education and counseling program. A similar 3-1-1 program in Chicago helped 1,304 families stay in their homes, saving banks an estimated $77 million in foreclosure costs, according to a report on the three-year Home Ownership Preservation Initiative. Baltimore's $800,000 program is spearheaded by the Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition, and will offer education, counseling and legal services. Half of the program's cost is being covered by federal money administered by the city; grants from nonprofits and a private lender are picking up the rest of the cost. Homeowners with mortgage problems will be able to dial 3-1-1 and talk to city operators who handle nonemergency police calls and other requests for services like bulk trash pickup, the Baltimore Sun reported. Calls for mortgage assistance will be referred to BHPC member St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center. I...