The housing market is feeling its worst crunch in years.

In response, Mercer County will sponsor a free information session on Monday, June 21, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hamilton Township Public Library on Whitehorse-Mercerville Road to help families assess whether they are at risk.

Professionals from certified housing counseling organizations with proven track records of helping homeowners secure loan modifications and other foreclosure alternatives will offer advice and tips.

County Executive Brian Hughes said he urges anyone who is at risk (or thinks they could be), especially people with adjustable rate mortgages, to come to the session.

“There is no shame in not being fully aware of the parameters of your mortgage,” Hughes said. “We’ve seen many mortgages granted under clever schemes that even the savviest homeowner would have difficulty interpreting.”

Many unscrupulous counselors take advantage of homeowners who are under stress and homeowners have reported that the supposed remedies they’ve been offered have actually made matters worse. And many don’t realize their economic condition often is no fault of their own. The combination of weak housing sales, falling home values, tighter mortgage lending criteria, and a slowing U.S. economy has few options to foreclosure, he said.

At the workshop, homeowners can learn how to achieve affordable loan modifications and refinances so that foreclosure might possibly be avoided. Attendees will hear about budgeting, funds available to help homeowners catch up, and agencies that might help them resolve delinquent accounts with mortgage lenders.

For information, please call the Mercer County Office of Housing and Community Development at 609-989-6858.

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