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Workshops offer subprime aid

By Ivan Pereira

The senator and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, head of the Brooklyn-Queens Diocese, announced a new campaign involving churches located in the neighborhoods most affected by the problem.”We have to make sure everyone has a shelter, and hopefully people who struggled to become homeowners in our two counties will have the ability to keep their homes,” DiMarzio said at a press conference on Feb. 20 in Brooklyn.The initiative will feature multilingual workshops held at the end of Sunday masses that will help congregants avoid getting bad loans and help others already in debt.”The problem we have run into over and over again is how to get the word out,” Schumer said in a statement. “This partnership… will make sure that the families most in danger hear directly from their spiritual leaders about how to get help and receive the best advice… from local community groups.”Subprime mortgages are loans that start with low interest rates, which increase rapidly over a short period of time. In New York City, nearly 14,000 homes were foreclosed in the last year because of the loans, according to Schumer.The campaign, co-sponsored by Neighborhood Economic Development, Neighborhood Housing Services and ACORN, will begin at masses where priests will inform parishioners about the forums and workshops. From there, interested parishioners will be directed after mass to the workshops, which include individual counseling with mortgage experts on refinancing options and mortgage hunting tips.”The best way to wage the war on foreclosures is to make sure the people on the front lines are armed with the best information possible to fight back,” Schumer said.In Queens, the first workshop was held Sunday at St. Catherine of Sienna in St. Albans and four more are scheduled in the next couple of months.On March 30, St. Leo's parish in Corona will hold two workshops, one at 11 a.m. in English and one at 12:45 p.m. in Spanish.On April 20, two workshops will be organized in English at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.On April 27, two workshops in English will take place at 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in South Ozone Park. A workshop in Spanish will take place at noon the same day.On June 1, St. Gabriel's Church in East Elmhurst will hold a workshop in Spanish at 11 a.m. and in English at 1 p.m.For more information, please call 718-399-5900, x. 5504.Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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