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September 15, 2011 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-09-15

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happen in absence of social prob-
lems," Ohren said. "Foreclosures are
complicated. There are often other
problems at the root of the crisis.
It's best not to treat it as just an
economic problem."
Burkhardt still lends her hous-
ing expertise to families in need
of help at the JFS campus in West
Bloomfield. Although the fore-
closure crisis has eased (in July,
foreclosure filings in Michigan were
at a two-year low) and calls to the
JHA had been winding down, there
are still those in the community
who face losing their homes.
Currently, foreclosures mainly
affect people older than 60 who
are on a fixed income. In 2009, 22
percent of JHA clients fell into this
category. In 2011, that number has
risen to 42 percent. "This is about
the same percentage of all of JFS's
clients:' Ohren said, adding that
JFS spends 50 percent of its budget
helping older adults who never
foresaw the difficult financial situa-
tions they find themselves in today.
Burkhardt, a certified hous-
ing counselor, said her role hasn't
changed since the Southfield office
closed, although more of her clients
are older adults over 60. She helps
clients determine whether they
can afford to stay in their homes.
Often, the answer is no, said Shari-
Beth Goldman, Family Life Center
Director. "If so, JFS helps with the
transition:' she added.
Burkhardt added that she works
in tandem with a social worker at
JFS to help families transition into
new homes.
If JFS gets inquiries from people
looking for standard refinanc-
ing, she will often link them to
an outside agency that can help
them navigate government pro-
grams, such as the Making Home
Affordable program, that are
designed to help consumers stay in
their homes.
"JFS is still fully in the business
of helping people with housing cri-
ses," Goldman added.

In addition to Jewish Family
Service, Southfield-based
JVS (formerly Jewish
Vocational Service) also
provides financial literacy
and foreclosure assistance.
If you're a homeowner in
need of help, call the Jewish
Assistance Project at (248)
592-2650 to be directed to
the best resource for your


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September 15 • 2011


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