A foreclosure mediation program that provides Delaware homeowners with a last ditch effort to save their properties expires in 2013. The impending deadline prompted lawmakers to push for an extension this week.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and state representatives threw their support behind new legislation that's designed to extend the automatic foreclosure mediation program another four years.

The program, which kicked off in January 2012, expires in late 2013 and would be a natural extension of a legislative initiative kicked off by Biden back in 2011 to save distressed borrowers. 

Among those initiatives was an automatic mediation program that took effect in January 2012. Since then, 58% of homeowners in foreclosure have participated in mediation conferences. Of those homeowners, 80% managed to reach either a non-foreclosure resolution or remained in discussion with banks, Biden's office said.

"Losing a home to foreclosure can be devastating, and borrowers deserve the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their lender and explore all available alternatives," Biden noted in a statement. "Our strengthened mediation program has proven to be effective in helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, and it should be extended for four more years."

Rep. Helene M. Keeley, D-Wilmington, is the bill's prime sponsor and plans to introduce the bill in the Delaware State House this week.

"We stood here two years ago pointing out how complicated the mortgage modification process is and calling this program a leveling of the playing field between banks and homeowners," Keeley said.

She added, "Now we have data showing just how successful this program has been at helping homeowners reach an agreement with their bank, stay out of foreclosure and keep a roof over their heads. Although this housing crisis is slowly fading, there are many families who are facing or will be facing foreclosure and will need the guidance this program offers."