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2011-04-19 20:34:24
Utah Foreclosure Crisis Coalition Rally

The rally, sponsored by a group calling itself the Utah Foreclosure Crisis Coalition, is set for Wednesday 4/20/11 from 4-7 in the Capitol Rotunda. It aims to also provide information for homeowners facing possible foreclosures, though its agenda is scaled down from an earlier postponed event that was to push for legislation that would help set up a mediation process.

The rally aims to raise awareness of the sweeping home-foreclosure problem in Utah, which has the fourth highest rate of such filings in the nation.

RealtyTrac, a California company that gathers real estate data, said this week that Utah had the fourth-highest rate of properties in some stage of the foreclosure process. One in every 98 Utah homes had a foreclosure filing in the first quarter of this year, putting Utah behind only Nevada, California and Arizona, according to RealtyTrac.

Marco Fields, one of the coalition founders, said talks are continuing with various people who have an interest in foreclosures in Utah, including legislators, lawyers, housing advocates, bankers, title companies and real estate brokers. Out of that, Fields said she sees future proposed legislation to address what the coalition terms a 'crisis' in Utah.

'Last year we had 32,000 foreclosure filings,' she said. 'We’re on track this year for 40,000 foreclosure filings. … We’re in for a flood.'

The problem is not just confined to families who lose their homes, but foreclosures affect property values in the areas where they occur and recently have been causing rents to raise because of higher demand, advocates say. Foreclosures also affect city revenues and can blight neighborhoods.

Tara Rollins, executive director of the Utah Housing Coalition, said her affordable-housing advocacy group fights against stereotypes about people who suffer foreclosure.

'Everybody thinks mobile homes, manufactured homes — trailer trash,' she said. 'Same thing when you think about foreclosure — people sitting on the couch and just not making their mortgage payments, and that is so false.'

Foreclosures are affecting many in the middle class, she said, pointing to Layton Mayor Steve Curtis, who is facing foreclosure on his home and who is scheduled to speak at the rally.

See the Coalition's Web site for more information.

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