By: Scott B. Riddle, Esq.

From todays AJC

A campaign to stem rising numbers of foreclosures locally and statewide was announced Wednesday by metro Atlanta civic leaders and elected officials.

Free counseling and a 24-hour hotline will be offered through the 1-888-995-HOPE campaign to help homeowners avert foreclosure.

In 2006, metro Atlanta ranked second among urban areas nationwide in its foreclosure rate, according to RealtyTrac, a national foreclosure database. Georgia consistently ranks among the top states for foreclosures per household in RealtyTrac’s monthly reports.

The 1-888-995-HOPE hotline will offer free, confidential advice in English or Spanish from counselors who can provide referrals and information about how to work out a plan that can avoid foreclosure.

Suzanne Boas, president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, said the foreclosure hotline is the first partnership of its kind in the nation.

"We are looking at and other people are looking at how to replicate this across the country," Boas said.