Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2014

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THE ECONOMY :

New help coming for some in dire straits

North Las Vegas to offer workshop aimed at residents

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Steve Marcus

This sign in the northwest Las Vegas Valley is one indication Nevada’s foreclosure rate leads the nation. The crisis is especially bad in North Las Vegas.

Some of the fliers circulating in North Las Vegas this week invite residents to the city’s annual hot-air balloon festival, BalloonaPalooza.

Other fliers address an issue that’s more of a downer.

The handouts invite residents to a seven-hour workshop dealing with the foreclosure crisis.

Nevada leads the nation in the rate of foreclosures, and North Las Vegas is the eye of the storm. In August, there were more than 800 foreclosures in the city.

That’s only the latest bad-news figure in the ongoing market downturn.

In the second quarter of this year, 12,000 Nevada homes went into foreclosure, and the crisis is expected to continue for at least a year. A study by the Pew Center on the States projected one in 11 Nevada homes will enter foreclosure by the end of 2010.

Some of the newest housing developments in North Las Vegas, including Eldorado and Aliante, had the highest foreclosure rates in the valley at 11 percent to 14 percent from Sept. 1, 2007, to March 31, according to a Sun analysis.

In Aliante, a master-planned community still being developed, nearly one in seven residential properties has gone into foreclosure since last fall.

Against this backdrop, City Hall is telling residents it is not too late to get help.

Buddy Yates, a 60-year-old pastor living in North Las Vegas, says he is one of the homeowners who will be seeking help at the workshop, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Texas Station.

He’s working with his lender to lower his $2,365 month payments.

Yates said he went to a workshop in July at Cashman Center that proved fruitless for him.

Saturday’s workshop, officials promise, will be different. It’s the first time North Las Vegas City Hall has addressed the foreclosure crisis head-on, by gathering the nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Service, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration.

“We needed to gear something directly to someone looking at possible foreclosure,” said Kenny Young, an assistant city manager. “Some of the other workshops are more geared toward the lenders.”

Young said not everyone can be helped, but city officials want to at least try.

The city is in the midst of redeveloping its downtown as its northern sections continue to blossom. However, the continued market slump is undercutting development success the city has enjoyed in the past decade.

“We need to stabilize neighborhoods for the people living here,” Young said. “Once we have that we can move forward with the growth in our community.”

Job No. 1 at Saturday’s workshop will be to explain the foreclosure process to beleaguered homeowners. The agencies will also provide a checklist of the documents people need when meeting with a lender in their efforts to renegotiate their loans and avoid foreclosure.

“People look to the government in times of need,” Young said. “This is definitely one of those times.”

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