If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, a financial counselor can help you find out whether you qualify for a loan modification and what your options are. All people can benefit from financial counseling to build their credit and learn new money management skills, especially during or after a financial crisis. Counselors are also available to help when you want to make a major purchase, such as a home or a car. Fortunately, there are many reputable non-profit agencies that provide high-quality financial counseling services to people of all different income levels.
HUD-APPROVED HOUSING COUNSELORS
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds non-profit agencies throughout the country to provide free counseling about buying a home, facing foreclosure, taking out a reverse mortgage and more. Because many agencies with HUD-approved housing counselors also offer credit counseling, financial management classes and back-to-work training programs, their websites are worth exploring.
- East LA Community Corporation offers a range of services, including housing counseling, financial education classes and more. To sign up, call (323) 269-4214.
- Legal Aid Society of Orange County (a member of the California Consumer Justice Coalition) provides free housing counseling over the phone or in person. For free housing counseling, residents of Los Angeles and Orange Counties can call (800) 834-5001. We also suggest you do our Applying for a Loan Modification Legal Check-Up.
- NeighborWorks is a national non-profit with local branches in many cities that offer housing counseling, credit counseling, financial planning classes and back-to-work job training programs. Local members of the national NeighborWorks network sometimes call themselves Neighborhood Housing Services. For Neighborhood Housing Services – Los Angeles County call (888) 895-2647. For NeighborWorks - Orange County call (714) 490-1250. For Neighborhood Housing Services - Inland Empire call (909) 884-6891.
CREDIT COUNSELING and FINANCIAL EDUCATION CLASSES
Credit counselors can help you create a debt management plan for paying down debts or simply for living within your budget. Many bankruptcy courts require people to take credit counseling courses before they can file for bankruptcy. Financial education classes also can be useful if you want to buy a home or start a business.
- For a list of approved credit counseling agencies, especially if you are considering bankruptcy, go to Department of Justice-Credit Counseling. If you live in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino or Riverside County, the “judicial district” is the “Central District of California.”
- For Financial Education Classes, try East LA Community Corporation's financial education workshops, the Los Angeles Foundation on Aging's financial literacy program, Operation Hope's financial education for teens, or Neighborhood Housing Service's financial education classes. If you live out of the service area for that agency, ask them if they can refer you to a reputable agency near you.
- The Mexican-American Opportunity Foundation provides for the socio-economic betterment of the greater Latino community in California, while preserving the pride, values and heritage of the Mexican American cultures. For more information on programs and classes, call (323) 890-9600.
- Take our Debtors’ Rights Legal Check-Up to learn more about your rights as a debtor.
- You have the right to receive one FREE copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit reporting agencies each year. Those three agencies are: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To request your free reports, contact the Annual Credit Report Request Service at (877) 322-8228.
JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS
There are also job training and job counseling programs in your area. Each of the agencies we have listed below either has a back-to-work or job training program or can refer you to one.
- The California Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Labor have information and links to job apprenticeship and training programs. Local labor unions may also have information worth exploring.
- Another good place to start is JVS-Los Angeles. They provide a wide range of training programs, counseling services and other support for people who have lost their jobs or who are looking to make a career change. For information, call (323) 761-8888.
Understand the Foreclosure Timeline
California is a non-judicial foreclosure state. This means that a mortgage company does not have to file a case in court in order to sell your house at a foreclosure auction.
- To understand the foreclosure timeline and what you can do at each stage of the foreclosure process, read our quick Foreclosure Timeline Guide.