Area homeowners in McAllen and the surrounding Valley communities at risk of foreclosure will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face financial counselors and mortgage lenders at the free Homeownership Preservation Workshop on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the South Texas College Pecan Campus.

This year, while McAllen and communities around the nation are facing the largest mortgage crisis our country has ever seen, it is more critical than ever to focus on sustainable homeownership and the resources that can help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Congressmen Henry Cuellar and Ruben Hinojosa are supporting the event.

“One of the most important pillars that support our nation’s economic structure is the mortgage industry,” said Cuellar. “During these difficult economic times, it is imperative that we work together to strengthen not only our financial institutions, but to lend a helping hand to struggling home owners.”

Congressman Hinojosa added, “Home ownership is so important and such a big step to take in the financial arena. That is why being well-informed is of the utmost importance. With workshops like the one being held in our community, with representatives from federal and local entities, to private companies, we can all work together to learn how to avoid a financial disaster and keep our families in our homes, which we have worked so hard to buy. As Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, I continue to promote financial literacy causes and outreach to the private sector, to non-profits, community-based organizations and, most of all, our residents.”

In addition, the Hidalgo County Housing Authority, HUD, and various local organizations will participate. The goal of the event is to give struggling homeowners face time with their lenders and financial counselors to develop a possible loan modification or financial plan to avoid foreclosure. Representatives from Chase, Wells Fargo, American Home Mortgage Servicing, Ocwen, and Fannie Mae will be in attendance.

The workshop, which includes brief educational sessions with homeowners, is free and open to the public. English and Spanish-speaking counselors will be available for homeowners to have a face-to-face conversation with a third-party advisor. These sessions will provide homeowners with a better understanding of their financial situation and options, which can possibly lead to loan modifications.

Today, homeownership remains a key way in which low and middle income families build wealth. It is important to ensure that families receive the appropriate loan product and have the education to maintain homeownership. Housing counseling agencies from around the country, such as Consumer Credit Counseling, provide free, quality pre-purchase homeownership counseling to tens of thousands of homeowners ever year. To find a local housing counseling agency go to www.hud.gov.