(KMOV) – The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday passed an ordinance that would allow homeowners about to lose their homes to request mediation.
Under the ordinance, which passed in a vote 16-8, lenders must notify a homeowner of their ability to request mediation at the same they’re given a foreclosure notice.
If a homeowner has gone through the process and is on the verge of foreclosure, they can ask for a face-to-face meeting with their lender to try to find a way to work out a plan to stay in their home. St. Louis County passed the same law last year.
Advocates from Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) were at Friday’s vote and praised the aldermen for their decision.
“This is a real victory for struggling homeowners. We have heard so many stories of people struggling to just get a return call from the bank,” said Barbara Pauls, a member of the MCU. “A sit-down meeting with their lender finally offers the homeowner a concrete opportunity to keep their home.”
Homeowner Angelia Williams, whose home was foreclosed on by Wells Fargo last year was ecstatic at Friday’s ruling.
“I’m so happy that the city has taken action to stop unjust foreclosures,” said Williams. “It is a small step, but has the potential to provide real relief for many homeowners struggling to get a fair deal from their banks.”
An estimated 10,000 homes in the St. Louis area were foreclosed on last year.