Thousands seeking mortgage help line up at Palm Beach County Convention Center this morning

Kimberly Miller
Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post

WEST PALM BEACH — Thousands of people are lined up this morning outside the Palm Beach County Convention Center – some arriving by the busload, hoping the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America will help them save their homes.

They are here from throughout the country, including Detroit and California.
“I’m here because I have to be,” said P. Reed, who drove all night from South Carolina. “They put me in foreclosure last week.”
The non-profit group opened the doors at 9 a.m. to begin a five-day marathon of around-the-clock loan modifications. The event, which is free, aims to get homeowners cheaper monthly mortgage payments through interest rate reductions, extending the life of the loan and a reduction in loan amount.

To be first in line, Lizandra Garcet, of West Palm Beach, arrived Thursday morning to set up her beach chairs at the front entrance of the convention center.
But she was too late to take the top spot in the queue. Someone, who came on Wednesday, got that.

Lizandra, 16, is helping her mother, who doesn’t speak fluent English, through the process.

They came on the last day of the event when NACA was in West Palm Beach in February, but it was too late to get help.

This time they wanted to make sure they got in.

“We’ve been here the whole night,” she said, as rain clouds threatened to soak those in line. “We just don’t want to lose our home.”

The last NACA event at the convention center drew tens of thousands of people, and counselors worked on more than 24,000 loans. Those who want help should bring tax statements, proof of income and mortgage documents to assist in the process.

Darren Duarte, spokesman for the Boston-based group, encouraged people who could not get help at the earlier event to come to this one.

“We want them to come back and get it done if they haven’t,” he said.

Staff writer Sonja Isger contributed to this story.

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