While the foreclosure crisis continues to affect families across America, the Making Home Affordable Program has helped over 900,000 families. One of those stories is from Cindy , a mother and employee working two jobs in Missouri.
Cindy experienced open heart surgery in 2009, which put her out of work for five months. Despite having a stable job, she fell behind in her $1,200 monthly mortgage payment. Supporting her son in college, coping with her recovery, and meeting all of her monthly financial obligations became too difficult to manage. "I was in a tough spot," Cindy recalled, "but I knew I could bounce back from this. I had to." Cindy sought help from Beyond Housing, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in nearby St. Louis where Linda Ingram, Director of Foreclosure Prevention, answered her questions and assessed her financial situation.
Linda immediately suggested that Cindy apply for a mortgage modification through Making Home Affordable. Linda told her, "It's not about the setback, it's how you handle it. It's how you react when the cards are stacked against you." Cindy took Linda's advice, and sent her financial information and required documents to her mortgage company. For several weeks, Linda stayed in constant contact with her bank, and received the free, professional counseling from Linda on a regular basis. "You simply cannot give up," Cindy reported, when asked about the advice she would give to others in her situation. "Do not take 'No' for an answer; you have to believe in yourself and your situation."
Last May, Cindy was given a trial modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which is designed for homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to a financial hardship. "I was so relieved," Cindy recalls after learning she was approved for a trial modification with a reduced monthly payment. "It confirmed my belief that there is hope out there." After three successful trial payments, Cindy's mortgage modification became permanent, and reduced her monthly payment by over $500.
Cindy continues to work two jobs and put her son through college, but with less stress knowing that she will be able to stay in her home. Cindy's story is similar to the over 900,000 homeowners that have been helped by MHA's variety of programs to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. "I'm thankful for so many things, but without a positive attitude and counselors like Linda from Beyond Housing, none of this would have been possible."
Homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments are encouraged to reach out for help as soon as they begin having trouble. Free help is available by calling 1-888-995 HOPE. Homeowners who take action are far more likely to get the most positive outcome. Call to talk one-on-one with a housing expert.