At the September and October Sussex County Sheriff Sales, more than 100 homes were auctioned off and one local nonprofit hopes to lower that number.

At the September and October Sussex County Sheriff Sales, more than 100 homes were auctioned off and one local nonprofit hopes to lower that number.

The Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council will hold a foreclosure prevention open house Oct. 23 in Georgetown to help Sussex County residents who are struggling with their mortgage payments.

“We want to provide homeowners from Sussex with information about different programs available for making their homes more affordable,” said Jaclyn Lantieri, housing clinic director for DCRAC. “There will be housing counselors available to speak with people and there will be information sheets explaining what homeowners can do on their own to apply for the programs.”

The Dover-based NCALL Research – a nonprofit that specializes in affordable housing development, education and lending – will be on hand to educate homeowners on changes made to the Home Affordable Modification Program, an effort funded by the federal government for homeowners who are not unemployed but are still struggling to make their mortgage payments. According to, the Obama Administration expanded the population of homeowners that may be eligible for HAMP in June 2012.

James S. Burke, home preservation specialist for NCALL, said his organization has received funding through the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program to conduct outreach regarding HAMP.

“The outreach is designed to identify borrowers potentially eligible for HAMP,” Burke said. “Eligibility and criteria for HAMP [and other programs] has changed and it changes all the time. So people in the past who were not eligible to receive a modification to their mortgage may be eligible now. It’s worth coming out and taking a look.”

The Delaware Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit’s Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Financial Education will also participate in the open house.

Greg Strong, director of the CPU, said his team interacts with Delaware homeowners on a daily basis to answer questions regarding the foreclosure process and to assist them in working with their lender to avoid foreclosure.

“We field calls pretty much every day from people who need our help and we try to help them navigate the landscape in terms of interacting with their bank and working towards getting accepted into various modification programs,” Strong said. “We also do a lot of community outreach and have quarterly servicer events where we bring together housing counselors and representatives from large servicing banks, or mortgage holders.”

For homeowners struggling with their energy bills, Delmarva Power will be at the open house to provide assistance.

“If customers are having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments, there is a possibility they are also having difficulty paying their monthly energy bills,” said Matt Likovich, a spokesman for Delmarva Power. “We offer a variety of payment arrangements.”