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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom


Economic Empowerment Tour Will Stop in Louisville

Thursday August 20, 2009

- Partnership to Bring Foreclosure Prevention and Job Help to Metro Area -

Louisville has been selected as one of only three cities nationally to receive foreclosure prevention and job help by the National Urban League. 

The “2009 Economic Empowerment Tour,” will stop in Louisville on Tuesday, September 15, it was announced today.

Helping with the announcement were Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson; Marc Morial, President & CEO of NUL; Jacqueline O’Garrow, Senior Vice President, Bank of America; and Ben Richmond, President & CEO of NUL’s affiliate organization, the Louisville Urban League.

The one-day, September 15th event, being held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kentucky International Convention Center, is billed as a “Home Rescue Fair & Career Fair”--a one-stop initiative designed to provide help to those facing the threat of home foreclosure and/or needing help finding employment. The event is free for attendees and all participating businesses and is locally hosted by the Louisville Urban League.

“With foreclosure and unemployment at their current high levels, Louisville is fortunate to be included in this national tour,” said Mayor Abramson. “This event also addresses an underlying cause of home foreclosure crisis, the rising unemployment rate. It is our hope that this collaboration will save more homes and help jobseekers find jobs in these challenging times,” Abramson said.

Louisville is the second stop in a series of grassroots events sponsored by the National Urban League designed to address the growing unemployment and foreclosure issues at the center of the nationwide economic crisis. The tour stopped in Dallas last month and has scheduled a similar event in St. Louis later this year.

“We are pleased to partner with the Louisville Urban League and Mayor Jerry Abramson to bring the Economic Empowerment Tour to Louisville’s residents,” said Marc Morial. “The economic crisis has affected all ethnic groups and income levels, but multicultural communities are the hardest hit by the loss of jobs and homes.”

A Timely Event for Louisville

The scheduling of the tour stop in Louisville is significant for area residents since there are currently over 6,200 homeowners that are one to five months behind and in danger of losing their homes, an increase of 500 homes just in the last month (HUD Neighborhood Watch website (www.hud.gov). In the first six months of 2009, according to RealtyTrac, there were 2,922 foreclosure filings, accounting for 1 in 187 housing units, an increase of over 50% from the same period one year ago.

- more -

This rising tide of foreclosure is impacting African Americans even more significantly. According to federal data, people of color are three times more likely to have subprime loans: high cost loans account for 55% of loans to blacks, but only 17% of loans to whites. Even when income and credit risk are equal, African Americans are up to 34% more likely to receive higher rate and subprime loans with a prepayment penalty than are their similarly situated white counterparts. A 2006 report by the Center for Responsible Lending, entitled “Losing Ground” states that close to 20% of African Americans stand to lose their homes by the time this crisis is over.

The number of foreclosures is also believed to be tied to the rise in unemployment. According to the latest statistics available from the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in Jefferson County is currently at 10.7 percent compared to the national rate of 9.5 percent.

Renegotiation of Mortgages Possible at Event

The home rescue fair component of the Louisville tour stop is part of the Alliance for Stabilizing Our Communities, a national partnership of non-profit organizations including the National Urban League, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) with help from Bank of America, that is hosting home rescue fairs around the country. The goal is to provide one-on-one sessions for troubled homeowners with certified HUD housing counselors and loss mitigation representatives from an array of lenders and servicers, as well as informational workshops.

These representatives will be prepared to assess the homeowner’s situation and begin the process of working out a resolution for homeowners in Kentucky or Southern Indiana who are currently delinquent on their home mortgage payments. Lending institutions currently scheduled to be present for the Home Rescue portion of the event are Bank of America/Countrywide, Wilshire Credit, Home Loan Serving, Wells Fargo, CitiMortgage, Chase Home Finance, US Bank, National City Bank, Fifth Third Bank, and Kentucky Housing Corporation.

An important note: Residents interested in taking advantage of this mortgage mitigation opportunity must bring all appropriate paperwork to the September 15th event in order to determine if they can be helped. Residents having questions prior to the event about the process should call the Louisville Urban League’s Housing Services and Neighborhood Revitalization Center (502) 585-3362.

In addition to loan mitigation services, free legal advice will be available as part of the Home Rescue portion of the event. Participating attorneys will be from the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, Legal Aid Society and Protect My Kentucky Home, an initiative coordinated through the Kentucky Housing Corporation. Various workshops aimed at reducing the possibility of home foreclosure will also be provided by area experts including Foreclosure101, Crisis Budgeting, How to Avoid Loan Fraud, The President’s Making Home Affordable Plan, and Making Your Home Energy Efficient presented by Lowe’s.

Employment Opportunities Also Part of Event

In addition to providing home foreclosure prevention assistance, the Economic Empowerment Tour hopes to connect Metro-area residents seeking jobs with potential employers looking to hire. Organizers anticipate over 50 businesses will participate in the Career Fair portion of the event. Area businesses interested in participating can sign-up by calling (502) 566-3370. Businesses currently committed to participate include Citigroup, Prudential, Kelly Services, Louisville Metro Police, Lowe’s Home Centers, and Neil Huffman Automotive Group among others. These businesses project over 200 current openings and this number is expected to double in the next 18 to 20 months.

The event will also provide job seekers the opportunity to meet face-to-face with career counselors and to attend workshops on Resume Writing and Preparing for the Job Interview.

“We hope to get participation by businesses of all types. Whether they need to make a few hires or several, we want them there,” said Ben Richmond of the Louisville Urban League. “This is being offered as a service to the business community and to the people who need the jobs. There is absolutely no charge for businesses or job seekers to participate.”

For more information for the 2009 Economic Empowerment Tour featuring a Home Rescue Fair and Career Fair," call the Louisville Urban League at (502) 585-4622 or visit its web site at www.lul.org or www.nul.org

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About the Alliance for Stabilizing Our Communities

The Alliance for Stabilizing Our Communities is a national partnership of non-profit, community-based organizations’ whose programs’ serve multicultural communities nationwide. The National

Urban League, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) with the help of Bank of America, created the alliance to assist homeowners in process of, or facing foreclosure through home foreclosure prevention events that provide one-on-one financial counsel from trusted experts and informative workshops. Over forty events are scheduled nationwide and workshop sessions include “Foreclosure 101, The President’s Making Homes Affordable Plan, Crisis Budgeting, and How to Avoid Loan Fraud” are central elements of each of the home retention events.

About the Louisville Urban League

Since 1921, the Louisville Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people attain social and economic stability and prosperity through direct services and advocacy. The Urban League’s Center for Workforce Development touches more than 6,000 people annually through job search assistance and placement programs and through community career fairs. For more information, go to www.lul.org.

About National Urban League

Established in 1910, The National Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social

mainstream. Today, the National Urban League, headquartered in New York City, spearheads the non-partisan efforts of its local affiliates. There are 102 local affiliates of the National Urban League located in 36 states and the District of Columbia providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide through program, advocacy and research. The mission of the Urban League movement is to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. To achieve its mission they employ a five point strategy, tailored to local needs that include, Education and Youth Empowerment, Economic Empowerment, Health and Quality of Life Empowerment, Civil Engagement and Leadership Empowerment and Civil Rights and Racial Justice Empowerment. www.nul.org.