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Foreclosure Counselor Awards

These awards recognize the outstanding efforts of counselors whose work exemplifies excellence in homeownership counseling in three categories: Excellence in Counseling Innovation, Excellence in Counseling Perseverance and Counselor of the Year.

Award winners were both nominated and selected by their peers.

2013 Winners

Maru ChamCounselor of the Year Award
Maru Cham
Neighborhood House Association
San Diego, CA

In just two years, Maru Cham has demonstrated not only her passion for counseling clients, but also her creativity and drive when promoting Neighborhood House Association counseling services and housing assistance. Fluent in English, Spanish and French, she serves numerous monolingual homeowners, especially Spanish-speaking clients. Despite a limited, 20-hour work week, Cham provides up to 40 counseling sessions each month, of which 80 percent are one-on-one-meetings.

Cham also assists in planning and implementing community-outreach events, promoting them by distributing flyers and talking to individuals within the community. Her outreach efforts have resulted in a 30 percent increase in homeowners served by the agency. Additionally, she has organized and streamlined the record-keeping procedures of the agency to more effectively manage the increasing number of homeowners receiving counseling.

Homeowners have repeatedly rated Ms. Cham’s service as above average to excellent. Several clients have sent letters to the Neighborhood House Association expressing their gratitude for her outstanding and transformational assistance.
Gercide LucExcellence in Counselor Perserverance Award
Gercide Luc
Urban Edge Housing Corporation
Roxbury, MA

Gercide Luc joined Urban Edge Housing Corporation in March 2007. She provides a full range of counseling services to homeowners needing foreclosure prevention assistance. Luc has been a driving force in providing multilingual foreclosure outreach and assistance. She is fluent in Haitian Creole and conversant in Spanish, which she has been learning on her own to better serve her Latino homeowners. Another of Luc’s notable accomplishments at Urban Edge is the development in 2007 of a client-management and counselor-training database that she developed over several weeks on personal time. Since its inception, the database has grown to house the records of more than 1,500 homeowners.

Luc’s dedication and tenacity are apparent in the service she provides to her homeowners, working early mornings, late nights and weekends to do whatever it takes to accommodate their schedules. She consistently works to streamline and enhance the intake and counseling process, ensuring it is seamless for both homeowners and the organization. Her department’s director describes her as embodying outstanding customer service, kindness and patience, always going above and beyond to assist homeowners. In addition, Luc possesses exceptional computer and programming skills. She assists her organization in training new counselors on use of the database she created, and assists in managing the IT system for grants and contracts.
Liz CatonExcellence in Counseling Innovation Award
Elizabeth (Liz) Caton
Northwest Side Housing Center
Chicago, IL

Elizabeth (Liz) Caton is described by her colleagues, partners and superiors as an inspiration, incredibly smart, a strong advocate and well-respected by all. Caton began her work at the Northwest Side Housing Center in 2004. During her tenure, she has provided clients with individual counseling related to pre- and post-purchase decisions, foreclosure prevention, rental options, reverse mortgages, home maintenance, refinancing and predatory lending. As a founding team member, Caton built the organization’s counseling program from the ground up by listening to the needs in the community, incorporating client feedback and using every opportunity to bring innovation and effectiveness to the program.

Caton has designed, implemented, evaluated and enhanced educational workshops in both English and Spanish, on topics ranging from homeownership, to foreclosure prevention, to budgeting and credit. To fund the program, she demonstrated ingenuity in securing more than 30 complementary grants. She also has forged partnerships with many organizations. The Illinois Housing Development Authority, the City of Chicago and Cook County all have specifically requested the assistance of Caton for foreclosure-outreach events, due to her expertise, demonstrated willingness to help, and rapport with homeowners and servicers. As a result, her organization has achieved a 75 percent success rate in helping homeowners keep their homes.

2012 Winners