WIN’s efforts in assisting families to increase financial stability while reshaping neighborhoods is a long-term, continuing process. While pre-purchase programs, described in the Winter Newsletter, are an essential beginning of the journey to home ownership, Pam Hardin-Willis, Manager of WIN’s Home Preservation Department, notes that the “hardest part of being a home buyer is attempting to retain home ownership with its financial, emotional and lifestyle adjustments”.
Unforeseen circumstances such as illness, divorce and/or unemployment can threaten the American “dream” of home ownership and can turn that “dream” into a nightmare. WIN’s Home Preservation Program can provide help. The Home Preservation Program (HP) provides free counseling through its’ Housing Counseling and Restoring Stability (Save the Dream Ohio) programs. These programs can assist struggling homeowners to review their options to obtain financial assistance to pay their mortgage while they are unemployed or struggling with an involuntary loss of income, can advocate with the lender to determine if their mortgage payments might be lowered through a loan modification or educate them about options to transition out of the property.
WIN’s HUD-certified Housing Counselors assist clients with developing budgeting and money management strategies, and in exploring their options if they are struggling to make mortgage payments. Counselors provide advocacy to the lender while finding a resolution such as a repayment plan or loan modification. While results cannot be guaranteed, a counselor supports the client through the entire process. Since program support comes from HUD, Hamilton County, and the United Way, among others, all services are free for the ducate them about options to transition out of the property.
client. WIN’s focus is on prevention first, and clients are urged to participate in counseling as soon as they anticipate any problems in
making their mortgage payment.
The Restoring Stability (RSS) Program, a mortgage assistance program funded through the U.S. Treasury Department and operated by
the State of Ohio, is locally administrated by WIN. This fund, first designed to help unemployed borrowers, now is also available to those
experiencing an involuntary reduction of income, such as death of a spouse, disability or illness. Clients have been men and women, families, single parents, low to moderate income or professionals who have been in their homes from only a year to as many as 30 years.
One example is that of “Mr. K” who lost his job three years ago. His unemployment compensation has now run out. He owes $17,000 on his home, but only has $17,000 in savings as he liquidated his 401 K in order to be able to pay his bills. Mr. K has been struggling with the possibility of selling his home of more than 20 years or of using all of his savings to pay his mortgage, leaving him with no resources to pay his bills. He looks for work daily, but options are limited. He has been referred to the RSS Program, and WIN is helping Mr. K to work through the application with the goal of having the mortgage balance paid off. This plan will help Mr. K stay in his home, have funds to sustain his household responsibilities and give him time to review and plan for his next steps in a non-emergency fashion with the help of the WIN counseling program.This is “WIN, win”. WIN is committed to helping families increase financial stability and to improving neighborhoods. The post-purchase programs are essential components of our efforts.