By Bob Murray
Member, Foreclosure Task Force
It's time once again to learn what is happening with foreclosures in Collier County.
For those who are experiencing this, it is devastating; for those who may be facing it in the future, it is daunting.
Do not let fear and frustration take hold and determine your future. There are answers to your questions and there are choices, but you must become aware of those if you are to save your future and recover as time goes by.
You are cordially invited to attend a no-cost program offered by the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force, a group of attorneys and other professionals who have devoted themselves to educating residents so they can know their rights and duties during this period of great uncertainty through our occasional seminar-like offerings and through our website. The program is set for June 20 at 5 p.m. at the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) building on 1455 Pine Ridge Rd.
A number of programs offered by the federal government will be ending this year; if you intend to use one or more of them you must get involved now.
Here are the plans for the meeting:
Michael Puchalla, a representative of the Housing Development Corporation of SW Florida (HDC) will be explaining all issues concerning HAFA, HAMP, HARP, etc. (federal programs) and how you might fit into them
Task Force attorney Francesca Passeri and Realtor Toni Stout will explain short sales, deed in lieu, and provide information to help Realtors avoid becoming liable for offering legal advice
Task Force attorneys Pat Neale and Ed Larsen will be talking about what happens after foreclosure (including collection actions and deficiencies); myths and urban legends surrounding foreclosure; and for the first time, a discussion of the rights and remedies of HOA's and condominiums – and the unique problems posed to both owners and association boards.
Most importantly, Jeff Ahren, Task Force chairman, will be discussing how to find resources and how to get help beyond this program.
We realize the information offered will, in many cases, be more than can seemingly be handled in one session.
Diane Flagg (Collier County Code Enforcement director) and Stuart Kaye (well-known local builder) will be presenting details on current statistics, causes and drivers (unemployment, negative equity, strategic default) and will forecast the near term — including a discussion of the so-called shadow inventory (including homes that may or may not be in foreclosure but involve some level of default, and properties owned or controlled by a bank that are not currently placed on the market).
Flagg and Chief Jim Bloom of the Collier County Sheriff's Office will talk about blight prevention, help for HOA's and COA's, community safety teams and the challenges presented by abandoned homes.
Finally, Ahren, Kathy Patterson (Executive Director of the HDC) and I will offer a brief history of the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force, its activities, outreach and resources from 2008 to present. We are about foreclosure prevention through intervention and education. To learn more visit www.collierFTF.com.
For those who have additional questions, they may speak to one or more of the Task Force attorneys present and get answers of a general nature to their questions. By ethical standards we do not seek to represent anyone in these matters, but offer direction to the Bar Association for those who can afford services and to the Legal Aid organization, for those who can no longer afford to hire an attorney. This event, like all of the activities of the Task Force, is fully and completely a pro bono initiative.