Showing posts with label state assistance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label state assistance. Show all posts

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reach out and Improve Your Outlook

I've got some more resources for those who are facing losing their homes. In addition to HASP, I've found some sites that are filled with useful information and contacts that can help you through this time.

Loan Safe has a lot of useful information for homeowners facing hardship. I found a ton of information in their discussion forums, too. I found some direct phone numbers for Countrywide in the forum they started specifically for Countrywide customers. There you can talk to people just like you and get ideas and advice on what to do next.

I also found NACA, a non-profit advocacy HUD certified counseling agency. They help homeowners to modify their loans and all their services are free.

You can still find the information I've gathered about loan modification and HASP with my articles here. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I will do my best to help, or find someone who can.

On this note, I want to talk more about what is happening as a result of our economy. More and more people are at risk of losing their homes as layoffs and paycuts continue. Families are struggling to make ends meat and many of them are turning to their governments and churches for assistance.

It's definitely a humbling experience and can be difficult for many of us to reach out for help, for fear of having our hands slapped away--or even being ridiculed, criticized and scoffed at. I suppose this fear, or even the reality of the fear, is what makes some people come to the decision of ending their own lives and often the lives of their entire family.

This is becoming more commonplace in the news and it makes my heart sick. I cry for those people because they believed they lost everything and had only one option left to them. I don't know what makes a person come to that conclusion, besides the desperation they feel in their circumstances. I only wish they would reach out to anyone and everyone, instead of setting on the course of ending lives.

I know this is a hard time. I know that so many people are losing everything. But that's just it--they're things. They give us comfort, shelter, entertainment, transportation, convenience...But they aren't even close to being the most important part of life. We're here for a reason. We're here to learn, to love, to grow and to be strengthened. The only way we can do that is by facing adversity.

Some people may feel alone in this. Some might believe they have no one to turn to. I want those people to know that they are not alone. Even a person who believes they have no one, has someone. For those of you who believe in God, remember that He will take care of you. You just have to remember that it's His plan we need to trust in, not our own.

For those of you who don't believe, I wish you did, as it would fill you with a comfort like no other. I don't know how my family would have come as far as we have without His help in our own lives.

There are many people out there (some you may have met, and some you may not have yet) who care what happens to you. They want your happiness and your well-being. They believe you can succeed even after what seems like a succession of failures. Don't give up.

I have a saying on my wall: "There is always something to be thankful for..." Even in these hard times, I believe that. One of the biggest blessings in my life is the gift of my children. I take on the responsibility for them gladly. They are looking to their father and me for guidance. They are watching closely and learning how to overcome the trials they'll face in their own lives. I will not teach them to give up.

Anyway, I'll leave you for now with that. I pray that you will find the strength to get through hard times--and then perhaps help others to do the same.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

How to Deal in a Bad Economy

If you've experienced a job loss or a paycut, then your head is probably spinning from fear and confusion of what to do next. It doesn't help that you keep hearing all over the media about the unemployment rate going up and the availability of jobs going down.

You also probably have the very real fear of losing your home. How can you pay for your rent or your mortgage when you don't have enough money? What can you do? What are your options? I'm going to try to help you in this area.

First of all, if you don't have a budget, make one. You need to write down all of your monthly obligations and total them out. Then you'll know how much money you need. Also, a budget only works if you follow it, so try to avoid any impulsive expenditures.

Of course, you have to have enough money to make your budget work. If you're having trouble in this area due this bad economy, there are programs out there to help you.

My state has a program called The Utah Department of Workforce Services (here is their website: Through this program you can find out how to see if you qualify for financial assistance, food stamps, health care, or it can even help you look for another job. Check your state government website to find out what programs they have in your state.

Are you low income and having trouble paying your utilities? Winter is a hard time when it comes to paying that gas bill. In my state we have a program called HEAT ( Those who qualify for this program can get help paying for their gas and electric bills. Our program opens in November and goes until it runs out of money. Check with your utility company and they should be able to tell of the programs available in your particular area.

Do you have children in school? See if you qualify for free or reduced lunch. Many schools also offer breakfast to your children. This can really help you lower your food bill. The program is confidential, so no one else will know if you're paying for your kids' food or not.

Call your mortgage company, if you have one. See what options they have available to you. Don't give up if you don't get the answers you're looking for the first time you call. Your answer there is only as good as the person's knowledge who works there. Sometimes, oddly enough, the person you're talking to may not know what your options are, so ask to speak to their supervisor.

Sometimes you can modify your home loan and add what you've fallen behind on to the end of your mortgage. Sometimes they can even lower your interest rate or your payment to make it more affordable to you. They can also help you negotiate a short sale on your home, if that's what you need to do. Check with your mortgage company.

I checked to see what my mortgage company, Countrywide Home Loans, offers. They have their Financial Hardship Program information listed on their website ( Your mortgage company's website might be a good place for you to start looking.

Also, you might want to try going to your church. Many churches have programs and funds available to those in need. The church I go to helps many people with food and other necessities. Check to see what's available to you in that avenue. Don't lose faith. We have to go through these hard times to get to the good times. It can be scary, but realize that God is there for you and will take care of you. He may not always take you in the direction you want to go, but trust that He knows better than you.

I hope these tips will help you in your hard time. If you know of any other resources out there that I haven't listed, please let me know.