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Clerk White provides Indy neighborhoods with access to online information to help battle home foreclosure

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INDIANAPOLIS – Today Marion County Clerk Beth White announced an effort to help neighborhood organizations track the sale of foreclosed and abandoned homes in their community.

At the last meeting of the county’s Enhanced Access Review Committee, Clerk White proposed giving neighborhood organizations, homeowner/condominium associations and community development corporations free access to online Sheriff Sale information found at www.indygov.biz. The board approved the measure unanimously.

“Foreclosures continue to be a financial disaster for communities across our country and Indianapolis is certainly not immune,” Clerk White said. “Many of our neighborhood leaders are actively working to battle neighborhood blight. I am pleased to help by providing access to critical information.”

Organizations must complete two steps before access can be granted. First, their group must be registered and recognized by the city of Indianapolis. Second, a fee waiver request must be submitted to the county’s Enhanced Access Review Committee. The committee will consider the request at its bi-monthly meetings.

The idea was sparked by an email from a neighborhood leader, Barbara Burcham. Ms. Burcham emailed the Clerk’s office asking if it was possible to provide free access to online Sheriff Sale information. She is monitoring a vacant property on her street using the online list and had been doing so for more than four years. At a minimum cost of $3 for the short list, the fees were a barrier to this effort.

“This is one of many of the good works that city and community working together brings to the forefront,” said Ms. Burcham, who sits on the boards of the Crooked Creek Community Corporation and the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center.

Organizations will be notified about this opportunity by the Clerk’s office through email later today. Information about this program is now available at www.indy.gov/clerk and will be available in the near future on www.indygov.biz, the county’s information portal.

Other efforts made by the Clerk’s office to help prevent home foreclosure include:

· Being an active member of the Mortgage Fraud and Foreclosure Task Force. The task force is a group of federal, state and local elected officials, lenders, attorneys and realtors committed to preventing mortgage fraud and foreclosure in central Indiana and beyond. Clerk White joined the task force in early 2007 shortly after taking office and the Clerk’s office has been an active member since.

· Providing foreclosure prevention assistance information to homeowners facing foreclosure. The foreclosure process originates in the Clerk’s office when the creditor’s attorney files notice. In the spring of 2007, Clerk White partnered with the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network to include, along with the notice of foreclosure, an informational flyer about the state’s free foreclosure counseling services.

· Testifying in support of foreclosure prevention legislation during the 2009 session. The Marion County judicial system has been a leader in increasing awareness of a borrower’s rights during the foreclosure process. In addition to the foreclosure assistance information provided by the Clerk’s office in the legal notice, the courts adopted a new trial rule to allow for a settlement conference between the parties to reach a new mortgage agreement. In March, the Indiana General Assembly was considering legislation that would expand Marion County’s efforts statewide as well as stiffen regulations for residential mortgage lending practices. Clerk White and judges Ayers and Dreyer testified in support of these measures, which ultimately will become law on July 1 (HB 1176 and SB 492).

For more information about the Clerk’s office or Sheriff Sales, visit our Web site or call (317) 327-4740.

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