Stopping Foreclosures

Deserie Jones-Wright was able to keep her house thanks to Philadelphia's foreclosure-diversion program when she and her lender agreed to lower her mortgage rate. With her is son Jahbarie Francis, 11.

A Philadelphia program to stave off mortgage foreclosures in the city is a real success story that other cities should copy.

About 1,400 foreclosures in Philadelphia have been averted and an additional 700 sheriff’s sales postponed, common pleas court officials reported.

It works by requiring lenders and homeowners to meet with a volunteer court mediator to try to work out lower payments.

More lenders should participate in a similar, though voluntary, national program called Making Home Affordable.

The results in Philadelphia so far are a credit to housing advocates, the mayor’s office, and especially Common Pleas Judge Annette Rizzo, who helped devise the program.