DAYTON, Ohio (11/19/07)--Eleven Dayton, Ohio-area credit unions and the Ohio Credit Union Foundation have joined to provide over $65,000 to the HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton, aimed at helping homeowners keep their homes amid the rising number of foreclosures in the area. As a part of the initiative, the funds have allowed the HomeOwnership Center to hire a certified foreclosure counselor to exclusively serve the local area. The Ohio Credit Union Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Ohio Credit Union System, aided the efforts with a $10,000 grant. Ohio ranked 3rd-highest in the nation with over 46,000 foreclosures during the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac. Montgomery County ranks as the second worst county in Ohio due to job loss, illness and predatory lending practices. The efforts of Dayton’s credit unions and the HomeOwnership Center expect to assist over 300 Miami Valley families in avoiding foreclosure. The initiative will help borrowers by providing them with resources, necessary steps and other tools. “Foreclosure affects more than individual families, it affects entire communities and it’s having a huge impact in the Miami Valley. The need for this partnership has never been greater,” emphasized Tim Mislansky, spokesperson for the credit unions. “This crisis needs leadership to solve,” he added. “There has been lots of talk of solutions, but credit unions are taking meaningful action to take a leadership role in stemming the rise of foreclosures. The solution for our community needs to be solved by the community in order to ensure the prevention of future foreclosures.” As member-owned cooperatives, credit unions exist solely to serve the needs of its members. One of the biggest advantages that credit unions have is the fact that they make decisions at the local level, which allows them to direct their resources to solve local problems and help members, Mislansky said. “No one wins during the foreclosure process. It causes hardship for the families, vacant properties reduce home values in neighborhoods, and the lenders lose money,” said Beth Deutscher, executive director of the HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton. “I’m extremely impressed with Dayton credit unions’ willingness to step forward on this critical issue, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with them,” she continued. “Their commitment sets an important example for our community, and we need more partners like this that are willing to help us reach families before it’s too late.” The initiative is available to all homeowners in the Miami Valley area having trouble paying their mortgage. Homeowners will receive free foreclosure prevention counseling by a certified expert mortgage counselor, and in most cases will be connected to the HomeOwnership Center. Homeowners will get advice about their options, assistance in working with their lender, help in trying to refinance their loan and possible access to grant dollars to help cure their delinquency. In addition to the foreclosure counselor, the effort will also provide public service announcements developed by the Ad Council and NeighborWorks America to encourage people to act early and not ignore the problem. “For a homeowner who is experiencing trouble in paying their mortgage, the most important thing is that they act fast,” said Deutscher. “The sooner they reach out for assistance, the greater our chances of being able to identify a solution.” The eleven participating credit unions are: Affinia FCU, Kettering; Bethel Baptist FCU, Dayton; Code CU, Dayton; Day Air CU, Kettering; DayMet CU, Dayton; FirstDay Financial FCU, Dayton; Incenta FCU, Dayton; Montgomery County CU, Dayton; River Valley CU, Miamisburg; Universal 1 CU, Dayton; and Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn.