I can say a bit about this for the DC mediation program. This was put into place late last year, but has been slow getting off of the ground. To date, only about 10 homeowners have gone through mediation, so there’s not enough to judge results yet.
The main effect so far has been to slow down the foreclosure process. Servicers can’t start a foreclosure proceeding until the mediation law’s requirements are completed, but there have been very few new foreclosure filings recently because the processes were not in place. If the slowdown helps homeowners by giving them more time to work out their problems, that’s great. But if it is just delaying the inevitable, that might not be beneficial.
The key issues going forward will be getting a high level of participation in the program and ensuring that homeowners are prepared for mediation. DC’s program, like many others, is “opt-in,” meaning that homeowners need to request mediation. So, they need to be informed that the program exists and understand how it can help them. Second, a mediation session is just an opportunity to negotiate face-to-face with your servicer. A homeowner still needs to present the best case possible for getting assistance, such as a loan modification. That means being prepared. A housing counselor can help homeowners prepare for mediation, so making sure that counseling organizations have sufficient capacity is crucial.
To answer the second part of your question, I’m unaware whether information on changing schools is being provided as part of the mediation process, but that’s certainly something we ought to look at.