Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley recently opened a new office at the North Penn Neighborhood Center on North Broad Street in Hatfield Township. President Patricia Hasson says the nonprofit organization helps people with budgeting, debt management and avoiding mortgage foreclosure. She says many of them need to learn the lesson that life is not just about buying things.
“It’s trying to get people to understand that you can still do things within your means and have that family connection, and in a lot of cases your family will be stronger because you won’t be worrying about the bills, you won’t be getting the phone calls.”
Montgomery and Bucks County Outreach Manager Tracey Ford says their counselors meet one-on-one with clients, who in many cases have very high credit card balances.
“They meet with our counselors and we take a really close look at what their income is and what their expenses are in addition to their credit card debt, and then we work with them as well as their creditors to see if we can identify a plan that would allow them to meet their debt obligations.”
She says their counselors generally do not tell people what to do or what not to do. They help them look at their options and make their own decisions. When people are facing foreclosure, she says their counselors help people find and understand information they might not get on their own.
“Even in the era of high-tech and Google, there’s a lot of information out there, it’s a lot to digest, and thankfully we have certified counselors on site who are really aware and educated about the various programs that are available who really understand both the credit system and the mortgage system, and they’re there to really help people navigate what can sometimes be a really overwhelming and complicated system.”
By the end of this year, Ford says more than 2,400 foreclosure complaints will have been filed in Montgomery County, and that’s about twice the number filed five years ago.