Struggling homeowners look for mortgage help

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PHOENIX -- Desperate to save their homes, people lined up outside the Phoenix Convention Center early Friday morning, many of them waiting since yesterday afternoon, for the Consumer Mortgage Audit Center's "Save the Dream" Tour.

The tour will be in town through Monday, with people on hand to help each day from 9 a.m. until at least 8 p.m.

One woman who has been in line since 4 p.m. Thursday isn't even a Valley resident. She drove in from Los Angeles. Christina Clark said she's been trying to work with her bank to restructure her adjustable-rate mortgage, but hasn't been getting anywhere.

"They told us that we have to be late in order for us to qualify and we weren't going to do that," Clark said. "That's why we're here."

Clark, like everybody else waiting in line, is hoping she can modify her mortgage in a way that will allow her to save her dream -- her home.

The Consumer Mortgage Audit Center is working side-by-side with Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) to help thousands of struggling homeowners in cities throughout the country.

Many of the people waiting in line say this weekend's "Save the Dream" event could not have come at a better time. They're desperate.

"Last chance," said Viorica Dorneau. "If we don't do anything here, I don't know what's going to happen in the future. I'll lose my house. ... I don't know what I can do"

Anybody in need of restructuring their home loan is welcome. The goal of the free event is to make people's mortgages affordable.

If you do plan to go, be sure to bring proof of income -- pay stubs -- for the last 30 days. If you're self employed, you need bank statements for the last six months. You also need your most recent mortgage statement, and, if you have it, a copy of your property tax bill and homeowner's insurance bill so those numbers can be included in your payment plan.

"What we're doing here is documenting an affordable payment," explained Darren Duarte, a NACA representative. "For many people, the mortgage is unaffordable. We need to make is affordable, and we have legal contracts with all the major lenders to do that."

The process begins with an orientation, including a conversation with a counselor during which you'll come up with a budget.

Many people have tried on their own to work with their lender, but haven't gotten very far.

"That's the unfortunate part of it, that we have to do things like this," said Darren Duarte, a NACA representative. "We have the banks here. We're here, and the banks can't run."

The next stop for the tour is in Las Vegas.