A local Habitat for Humanity chapter has seen an uptick in home foreclosures filed this year.
The East Central Ohio branch, which builds homes in Stark, Carroll, Tuscarawas, Jefferson and Harrison counties, has filed eight foreclosures. Prior to that, court records indicate the non-profit filed an average of two to three foreclosures a year since 2015.
Compared to other local affiliates, eight foreclosures is unusually high. Summit County’s chapter filed for two foreclosures this year, and the Medina County branch foreclosed on one home, the first in its 27-year history. An official at Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning Valley said he only knew of one foreclosure at his chapter in the last three years.
But Courtney Brown, family partnership director for the East Central Ohio branch, said three of the homeowners resumed payments and are no longer on the foreclosure list.
Homeowner death accounted for four of the remaining foreclosures.
Brown said once a family is at risk for foreclosure, staff members remain in frequent communication and provide financial counseling.
“Once they fall and start to struggle, we call them. We talk to them. We bring them in the office. We sit down with their budgets again. We get them on payment plans. The last thing we ever want to see is a family lose their home. Ever,” she said.
Since its founding in 1988, the Habitat for Humanity of East Central Ohio has built 546 homes in the region.