Mark from Roaming Shores—a rural town east of Cleveland— says it was “overwhelming” and “a bit of a shock” when he started having financial difficulties after losing his job as a service technician due to a manufacturing slowdown in April 2009. Mark tried to keep up with his mortgage payments but soon fell behind. He reached out to his mortgage company but couldn’t get the help he needed, and things quickly began to move in the wrong direction. “I couldn’t get the bank to slow down,” Mark said.
Mark describes himself as “a blue collar guy”—somebody who was happy to do the legwork involved with applying for mortgage assistance but who didn’t have a good handle on the financial steps he needed to take. “I got involved with the right people,” Mark noted, referring to his housing counselor at the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. In August of 2009, Mark worked with the agency to start the application process for the Home Affordable Modification Program SM (HAMP SM). That November, he received a trial HAMP modification. Mark was approved for a permanent modification in April 2010.
“A year ago, things were pretty bleak for me, but I wasn’t about to give up,” Mark said. “There were not many manufacturing jobs around here and my age – 52 – was a factor. I opted to change jobs and get back into something I had done previously – driving a truck. Never having gone through anything like this in my life, I just needed time to bounce back. HAMP gave me that chance.”
Mark adds, “Without HAMP, I would have already lost my home. They were willing to work with my unemployment situation and dropped my payment from $984 to $644 a month. Now I am back in the game, making things happen, and my credit is starting to repair itself.”
Gabe from Springfield purchased the home for his family relying on income from his long term contract in the then-thriving information technology industry. What he didn’t expect was that, in late 2009, he would be laid off from his job. “People were being laid off but I never really thought it was going to affect me,” Gabe said. “It was a 5 year contract, and out of the blue my company let all the IT professionals go right after Christmas.”
Gabe, like a lot of Americans, went on unemployment, continued to look for work, and worried about how he would make his mortgage payment. In February 2009, Gabe contacted the Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield where a housing counselor worked with him to secure a HAMP trial and, ultimately, a permanent modification. “There was a lot of back and forth, but with the help of the housing counselor we finalized the modification,” Gabe noted. “I’m glad I did it.”
With a HAMP modification, Gabe’s monthly mortgage payments dropped from $1,100 to a manageable amount for him, just under $700 per month. “It’s the only way we survived my unemployment,” Gabe said. “It allowed me to make payments on-time and save my credit.”
These success stories represent just a few of the over 600,000 homeowners who’ve been helped by the Making Home Affordable © Program. Together, the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development continue to provide homeowners and families the resources they need to avoid foreclosure.