1. Learn about this resource. 

DC homeowners can access free foreclosure prevention counseling to get help if they’re worried about paying their mortgage, are behind on their mortgage payments, or are in the process of foreclosure. A counselor will help you assess your financial situation, consider alternatives to foreclosure, and apply for assistance. Counselors may also connect you to legal assistance if your lender has already started the foreclosure process or if they identify loan fraud or predatory lending—lending that is unfair or abusive. You may receive up to five hours of free legal assistance.


This program is called the Foreclosure Prevention Program and is offered by the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, in partnership with Housing Counseling Services, a local nonprofit.

2. Check if you are eligible.

You are eligible if you own a residential property in the District.

prevent foreclosure on your home?


3. Sign-up.

Call the DC Foreclosure Prevention Hotline at (202) 265-2255, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, to register for a Foreclosure Prevention Clinic. Clinics are held online weekly. You can also sign-up on Housing Counseling Services’ website. Housing Counseling Services is a nonprofit in DC that provides counseling, training, advocacy, technical assistance, and housing opportunities for homebuyers, homeowners and tenants. They help run the Foreclosure Prevention Program for the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. You can sign-up for a clinic at any time.

4. Gather more information.

What happens after I sign-up?

  1. You will attend a Foreclosure Prevention Clinic. Clinics are held online weekly.
  2. After the clinic, you may meet with a housing counselor for more assistance. Be ready to talk about why you are having trouble making your payments, what you’re doing to resolve the issue, and details about your financial situation.
  3. The housing counselor may ask you to gather documents to help them understand your financial situation and the current status of your mortgage. They’ll let you know what they need.
  4. The housing counselor will also arrange up to five hours of free legal services for you if needed.

Are there any additional requirements I should know about?

No, there are no additional requirements.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

First, take a look at the frequently asked questions at the bottom of the page. If you still have questions, please reach out to Housing Counseling Services at (202) 265-2255, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you would like to talk to someone in DC Government about the program, please reach out to the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking at (202) 442-7848, Monday through Friday, 8:15 am to 4:45 pm. Or, you can email us at DISB@dc.gov using the subject line “Foreclosure.”

I still need help paying my mortgage. What should I do?

You can find information about other resources that might help on our mortgage resources page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is foreclosure? Foreclosure is the legal process that takes place when a mortgage lender takes ownership of a property. This happens because a homeowner misses several payments on their mortgage or otherwise breaks their contract. Foreclosure can be avoided when the homeowner and lender agree to a path forward, sometimes with support from a housing counselor or other legal mechanisms. What type of help will the housing counselor provide? The help you get will depend on your situation. The housing counselor will evaluate your situation, review your budget and finances, suggest possible actions you can take to improve your finances, connect you to legal assistance, and help you apply for financial assistance. The housing counselor will also work with you and your lender to consider options for keeping or letting go of your home. These could include options to make it easier for you to pay your mortgage, including negotiating new loan terms or a home loan refinance. If that’s not possible, you may have alternatives that cost you less than continuing with the foreclosure. One alternative is to sell your home for less than its value through a short sale. The money made from a short sale could be used to pay the lender. Another option would be to give your home back to the lender through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This option would allow the homeowner to avoid going to court. My lender has filed a court case against me. How can I prepare and what can I expect when I go to court? If your lender sends you a package of documents saying that they’ve filed a court case against you, they’ve started the foreclosure process. One of the documents you’ll receive is called an initial order. Make note of your court date, which may be three or more months after you receive the package of documents; look in the bottom left-hand corner of the initial order document for the initial conference date and location. A housing counselor will help you prepare for the court appearance and will connect you with a lawyer. You can also ask them to come to court with you to help you make decisions. There are also free counselors and lawyers available in the courtroom who can help. Reach out for help (by following the instructions to sign-up) as soon as you receive notice that your lender has filed a court case. My lender has sent me a notice to participate in mediation. Can someone help me understand the mediation process? If your lender decides to pursue mediation, this may give you an opportunity to find options to prevent foreclosure. A housing counselor can help you complete the forms and prepare for mediation. I think I’ve been scammed. How do I know, and who can I report it to? If someone asks you for money to help avoid foreclosure, it may be a scam. You can get free, expert assistance from a housing counselor. Watch for these scam warning signs:

  • You’re told not to contact your lender, lawyer, or housing counselor.
  • You’re asked to pay for services before you receive them.
  • The person or business guarantees it will stop foreclosure.
  • The person or business guarantees you won’t lose your home.
  • You’re asked to sign over the title to your home or to sign other documents you don’t understand.
  • You’re instructed to send your payment to someone other than your lender or servicer.
  • The person or business offers to do a “forensic audit.”
  • You’re told to stop paying your mortgage.
  • The person or business says they’re affiliated with the government or uses a logo that looks like a government seal but is slightly different.
  • The person or business offers to lease your home to you with a promise to let you buy it back later.
If you suspect a scam, request help from DC Government to investigate the problem and/or report it to the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 382-4357 or online.

Do all eligible applicants receive counseling?


This resource is provided by:

Keywords: foreclose, displace, legal aid, housing assistance, lender, bank, homeowner rights, mortgage assistance, scam, eviction court, keep my home


This page was last updated February 2021.