Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Colorado Foreclosure Hotline

I am a founding member of the Colorado Foreclosure Prevention Task Force and the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline. I am a member of the Task Force's executive committee which oversees the Hotline's activities and funding.

In late 2005, I began working with the Community Relations office at JPMorgan Chase to put together a local response to high foreclosure rates in Colorado. The Colorado Foreclosure Prevention Task Force was quickly formed, and the task force set to work exploring solutions to the foreclosure situation, which at the time was still in its early stages.

As the primary staff person serving the Task Force, I put together a statewide group of public trustees, local officials, Realtors, lobbyists, mortgage brokers, state officials, mortgage insurance companies, housing counseling agencies, and other interested groups. The Task Force brought with it decades of expertise in numerous aspects of foreclosures, real estate, banking, and housing counseling.

The Task Force settled on the idea of a hotline connecting all the housing counseling agencies in the state. As the hotline began to take shape, I took the lead in gaining national and local recognition of the hotline in preparation for the future funding and marketing needs of the hotline.

In the early days of the Hotline, I had difficulty gaining recognition for the Hotline. A national hotline with 20 million dollars of funding had been getting most of the attention up until that time. The Colorado Hotline's model of local services is quite superior to the national hotline's model, however, and by securing the help of some key mortgage industry people and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, I started to break through the the national lenders on whom we are dependent for funding.

Today, few doubt that the Hotline is one of the best in the nation. The very large amount of local coverage I was able to gain for the Hotline turned into national coverage and led to 2 stories on Fox News (one of which featured me personally), 2 stories at CNN Money, a column in the Wall Street Journal, and a story in TIME Magazine. I was also recently featured on National Public Radio's Marketplace.

I have established the Division of Housing as the source for foreclosure statistics and foreclosure commentary in Colorado, and rarely is there a story on foreclosures in Colorado that does not mention the Division of Housing in some capacity.

I have organized over 25 events in the last 2 years for the Hotline. Some have been events with elected officials such as "town hall meetings," some have been panels at conferences, and some have been public forums of various kinds.

I have developed a wide variety of marketing campaigns including public service announcements for television and radio, paid advertising, free media through print and electronic media, and public events designed to drive people to the Hotline.

After only 18 months, the Hotline has received over 45,000 calls, and continues to grow in its exposure and prominence as a premier hotline.

On August 25th, the Hotline officially became a nationally-recognized and award-winning Hotline when the National Association of REALTORS recognized the Hotline with an award and cash donation at a Democratic National Convention luncheon in Denver.

Professional Academic Work

Over the years I've attempted to stay somewhat connected to the academic world because it is interesting, and because I want to stay informed as a college instructor.

My primary research interests have long been American politics (especially Congressional politics), state and local government, political philosophy, Mexican politics, and U.S. - Mexico relations.