OAKLAND (BCN) — U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said he hopes that a mortgage modification event in Oakland on Monday will be a model for helping troubled homeowners across the country who are facing foreclosure.

Donovan said 500 East Bay homeowners who are facing foreclosure are meeting at the Marriott City Center in Oakland with counselors and lending institutions in an effort to get immediate results.

“This is an attempt at a new model by having everything ready for loan modifications” in one session, he said. “If this effort is successful, we will replicate it here and across the country.”

Joining Donovan at a news conference at the City Center, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said, “There are thousands of people in my district who need assistance, but we’ve had foreclosure assistance events where thousands of people have shown up and nothing gets done.”

She continued, “The lending institutions are here today and we hope to see results.”

Lee said the idea is to see if the new model “will work more efficiently.”

Donovan also announced that he is making $5 million available for housing counseling training so that housing counselors can give better advice to their clients.

Lee said troubled homeowners need to have their loans modified so that they can stay in their homes.

“Some neighborhoods have been totally blighted, and the problem is quite severe in my district and hasn’t stopped yet,” she said.

Many homeowners “have lost their wealth and the equity in their homes, and are moving from the middle class to poverty,” because of the housing crisis, Lee said.

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