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Catholic churches, WIN tackle foreclosure crisis

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Friday, July 3, 2009

CATHEDRAL DEANERY — The Catholic Social Action Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, representing a network of 25 Catholic parishes, and Working in Neighborhoods, Inc. (WIN) are taking on the foreclosure crisis in southwestern Ohio.

The two organizations last February formed The Crisis Next Door Task Force, named after WIN’s recent report on the number of foreclosures in Hamilton County for 2008. The task force decided to take two action steps – create an information packet that explains the causes of the current crisis as well as what people can do to help, and sponsor several educational forums.  

The purpose of this two-pronged campaign is to respond to the needs of our neighbors who are behind on their mortgages or facing foreclosure, to tell them where they can turn for help, and what we together can do to address this crisis.

After months of planning, the campaign is underway. The Catholic Social Action Office is mailing foreclosure information packets to Catholic parishes of southwestern Ohio — specifically to pastors, business managers, and social justice committees — and forums have been scheduled in three parishes. The dates and places for the forums are:

• St. Mary Church, Hyde Park — Tuesday, July 28, 7 p.m.

• St. Ann Church, Groesbeck — Thursday, July 30, 7 p.m.

• Immaculate Heart of Mary Church — Thursday, September 10, 7 p.m.

According to the report released by WIN in March, 3,081 homeowners in Hamilton County lost their homes at Sheriff Sales in 2008. In southwest Ohio, the following counties experienced a dramatic increase in foreclosure filings:  Hamilton (6,674; 347.9 percent increase from 1995); Butler (2,988; 568.5 percent); Clermont (1,285; 606 percent); and Montgomery (5,194; 447.3 percent).

Last February, the Catholic Social Action Office and 25 archdiocesan parishes recognized the magnitude of the crisis and voted to make foreclosures one of their priority social justice issues for 2009.

WIN is a Cincinnati-based non-profit organization that strives to stabilize neighborhoods and low- and moderate-income families through home ownership, community building, and financial education. 

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