Good afternoon,
As many of you may know, Florida leads the nation in residential mortgage foreclosures. According to a recent report, one in every 400 Florida homes is in foreclosure. In Orange County, that number increases to one foreclosure filing for every 253 homes.
Those are staggering numbers and our forecast for the next several years estimates that some 500 homes will enter into foreclosure each month in Orange County.
Because the foreclosure crisis continues to be an issue in Central Florida, I led an initiative to create a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Education website to assist those in foreclosure or at-risk of foreclosure. The website – – is designed as a hub of information for Central Floridians and includes trusted resources and links to national and local housing agencies, input from the Orange County Bar Association, and answers to frequently asked questions. It also includes guidance on recognizing, avoiding and reporting scams.
The Clerk’s Office handles foreclosure sales in Orange County and is responsible for processing thousands of foreclosure filings each year. As the Clerk of Courts, I see firsthand the anguish and confusion of those facing foreclosure. My goal for the website is to help our residents sift through some of the options and make the process a little easier.
If you are a resident struggling with your mortgage payment – or if you are a family member, neighbor or friend of someone who is – I ask you to take a few minutes to review the website and consider taking advantage of the many resources that are available to homeowners in distress.
As I highlighted in last week’s newsletter, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For us at the Clerk’s Office, it’s an issue that is of great importance because of our role in the injunction process and our relationship with Harbor House of Central Florida. I applaud the fact that each year we take time in October to have a national conversation about domestic violence, but for me and my clerks it’s a year-round discussion.
Last week, members of our Family Services team participated in a webcast with Harbor House and the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers (FCCC) to share our history of partnership in Orange County. The event highlighted how the Clerk’s Office and Harbor House have developed a synergistic relationship that fills the gaps to ensure victims of domestic violence have access to the courts and are protected around the clock.
It’s this type of thought leadership on important topics that makes me proud to be the Orange County Clerk. Our partnership with Harbor House is one of collaboration – the type of collaboration I hope other Clerks’ offices will be able to replicate.
The 38th Annual Purple Door Breakfast is Wednesday, October 22. The breakfast is a great opportunity to learn more about domestic violence prevention and hear a few inspirational stories. If you’d like more information, visit the Harbor House website. I hope to see you there.
This week we celebrate Customer Service Week 2014. For many organizations, it’s an opportunity to say thank you to all of their loyal customers and recognize them for their support. I prefer to take a slightly different approach. All week I’ve been sharing customer service success stories about our clerks on our website. The response has been fantastic.
The series includes stories about community outreach, our partnership with Harbor House and how technology is helping maximize our customer service.
These stories demonstrate what I have known for quite some time: That our clerks provide professional, compassionate customer service in an efficient and courteous manner. I make the point in one of the stories that many of our customers come to us for difficult reasons. It could be a traffic citation, a divorce or a criminal matter. Because many of the services we provide have a profound effect on the lives of our customers, I believe we have an extra responsibility to get it right the first time.
I hope you will take a moment to visit to read the stories for yourself.
Eduardo “Eddie” Fernández
Orange County Clerk of Courts