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Struggling homeowners get help at Cow Palace

on October 20, 2009

Richmond homeowners facing foreclosure have one more day to get help from a traveling network of financial counselors.

Thousands of Bay Area residents have huddled into the seats at Daly City’s Cow Palace over the last four days, hoping the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) will help them negotiate a new mortgage.

One of the homeowners was Robin Bill of Richmond. She lives near the city’s border with San Pablo.

Bill spoke briefly at the NACA podium, one of many who were asked to recount their success stories. She looked out over a bullpen of mortgage counselors going through paperwork and tapping at computer terminals. She thanked God, smiled and talked briefly about how her NACA counselor had promised to renegotiate her interest rate from 6.75 to 2 percent, which would cut her monthly mortgage payment from $2245 to about $1400.

Robin’s sister Deborah Bill stood behind Robin at the podium.

“I’m happy for my sister, but I didn’t even get a promise,” Deborah said after stepping off the riser.

Deborah works for the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department. She said she’s making ends meet, but an ongoing furlough and lack of overtime are making it more difficult for her to pay her mortgage.

In 2006, Deborah refinanced her home in Richmond View. Her five-year fixed-rate loan is slated to adjust in 2011, she said. Deborah currently pays $1700 a month and said she was hoping to eliminate the adjustment and renegotiate a lower fixed rate. Her NACA counselor advised her to aim for a monthly payment of $1390.

Robin's daughter Shaniera Owens, Deborah Bill and Robin Bill head home with hope.

Robin's daughter Shaniera Owens, Deborah Bill and Robin Bill head home with hope.

“We’re the kind of people who will struggle to try to pay,” Deborah said. To get assistance, she said she needed to present a copy of her homeowner’s insurance paperwork, which she didn’t have with her.

NACA is a Boston-based non-profit housing services organization that helps at-risk homeowners restructure their mortgages. NACA’s “Save the Dream” tour brought the organization to Cow Palace for five days, ending Tuesday.

People seeking help should bring with them the most recent pay stubs and a monthly mortgage statement, property tax bill and homeowner’s insurance bill.

To sign up for Tuesday’s session, visit

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