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Nonprofit to host foreclosure prevention forum

BUFORD -- With home foreclosures continuing to be on the rise in the economy's current state, one Gwinnett nonprofit is hosting a foreclosure prevention forum June 7 in Buford.

The Lawrenceville-based Impact! Group, a housing services organization, will play host to interested residents and Realtors alike at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center on Monday. The primary goal is to educate homeowners on how to avoid foreclosure from overdue mortgage payments.

"This forum will be one of the largest public foreclosure events held in Gwinnett County to date," said Tom Merkel, the president and CEO of Impact. "We're expecting Realtors and homeowners from throughout Gwinnett and the metro Atlanta area to attend, and we hope that by the end of the day attendees who are behind on their mortgages will understand their options and be able to begin taking the first steps in regaining stability."

In 2009 alone, Impact says it provided housing counseling and education services to more than 4,800 households -- it expects that number to be more like 6,000 in 2010.

According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development statistics, a little more than one out of every 100 mortgage loans went into foreclosure in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Monday's afternoon session, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., will be free of charge and open to homeowners. Presentations and discussions on foreclosure assistance, loan modifications, foreclosure scams, financial education and mortgage loans are all on the agenda.

Speakers from the professional housing counseling, legal and lending fields will all be available to field questions.

A morning session from 9 a.m. to noon will also be available for interested Realtors. The cost is $10 and participating Realtors will receive three hours of credit toward re-certification.

Because of expected high attendance, those interested are asked to register at www.theimpactgroup.org.