Dear Partners & Friends:
Regrettably, 2011 has been largely a continuation of the economic challenges of 2010. Despite occasional good news from the stock market and some positive signs for economic expansion, unemployment remains high, declining home values have yet to reach bottom and the foreclosure crisis is still front-page news. In fact, the foreclosure crisis could get worse before it gets better as many financial institutions have been holding off on foreclosure actions due to the early year bad press of the “robo-signings.”
The need for the services offered by non-profits such as Crisis Housing Solutions has never been greater!!
And, as a HUD Housing Counseling Agency, we do not charge our clients for any of our services.
Foreclosure Prevention Services – Continuing to Address the Crisis
It is difficult to pick up a local newspaper and not read something about the continued housing crisis in South Florida. In 2010, 17,983 families in Broward County lost their homes to final foreclosure (Source: Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office). This was up from over 14,289 in 2009. To put this in perspective, there were 361 foreclosures in 2005. Many people need default counseling assistance!
With a team of qualified housing counselors, CHS has been offering foreclosure prevention services since Spring 2010. Briefly stated, our role is to act as an intermediary between client and lender to develop an action plan that is acceptable to the lender and sustainable by our client; keeping our client in their home. In the last few months, we have successfully obtained loan modifications for 31 clients with many more just around the corner. That’s 31 families that won’t be part of the aforementioned foreclosure statistics. We are striving to make sure that many more clients will experience this same joy of saving their homes.
Do you know of someone in danger of foreclosure and in need of counseling assistance? Please have them call us at (954) 587-0160 to schedule an appointment. Again . . . it’s free.
Following are two (2) recent success stories provided by our counselors.
Success Story #1
“Mr. X” came to Crisis Housing Solutions after trying several times unsuccessfully to get a loan modification on his own. In fact, he had paid an agency to assist in this process but, to his frustration, got nowhere. At his first appointment, I explained that while he had started the process, it could take some time to get a decision. We contacted his bank to check on his status and found that the bank was still in need of certain documents and updated information. All of the required documents were obtained from the client and submitted to the bank for review. This review process “took forever” considering the original application had been submitted many months prior.
After repeated calls to the lender and additional document requests, we received verbal approval for a trial modification. But, Mr. X never received the paperwork and became quite nervous. I called the bank on a weekly basis and, for a time, it appeared the modification might fall through. Fortunately, through our repeated phone calls, Mr. X finally received his modification package from the bank. He was approved for a 3.875% rate for five years and a 4.75% rate for the balance of the loan. He is extremely happy and grateful that he and his children will not lose their home.
Success Story #2
“Mr. Y” came to our office seeking assistance with his lender. He had contacted them to begin the process but did not know how to proceed. Mr. Y is married with two children. His wife had to quit working in 2009 when diagnosed with cancer. Mounting medical bills put them behind on their mortgage payments. Prior to this, the family had a very good payment history. We immediately submitted all of the documents requested by the bank. This prompt action combined with the client’s payment history resulted in the approval of a trial modification period for three months. After successfully completing this trial period, Mr. Y was advised his modification was approved at 2% for the first 2 years, 3% for the next 3 years and 4.75% for the balance of the loan.
More good news . . . Mrs. Y has successfully completed her cancer treatments and is back to work part-time.
As previously mentioned, CHS is a certified-HUD Housing Counseling Agency; as such, clients do not pay for any of the services we render.
Florida Hardest Hit Fund Program – Further Assistance to Those Struggling With Mortgages
The Florida Hardest-Hit Fund (HHF) Program, which was officially launched April 18th, is available to troubled homeowners in all of Florida’s 67 counties. Florida is one of 18 states and the District of Columbia that are part of this $7.6 million program administered by the U.S. Treasury Department. Florida’s allocation currently stands at just over $1 billion and is being administered through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation in Tallahassee. Crisis Housing Solutions is a certified HHF Advisor Agency for this program.
The Florida HHF Program is intended to provide mortgage assistance to qualified unemployed and under-employed homeowners who are having difficulty paying their mortgages. The two programs are:
- The Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP) will provide up to $12,000 to cover monthly mortgage & escrow mortgage-related expenses for up to six (6) months (capped at $12,000), or until the homeowner can resume payments, whichever comes first. UMAP homeowners will be required to pay 25% of their monthly income toward the mortgage payment, with a minimum payment of $70.
- The Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Program (MLRP) will provide up to $6,000 to bring a homeowner’s past-due first mortgage current if the homeowner can show the ability resume mortgage payments on his/her own.
To qualify for assistance through the Hardest Hit Fund Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Home must be the primary residence.
- Total household income must be < 140% of the Area Median Income (AMI) as defined by HUD.
- Borrower and/or co-borrower must have had a financial hardship – job loss, reduction in income and/or hours worked or reduction of income if self-employed.
- Monthly housing debt must be > 31% of gross household income after the hardship event.
- Mortgage is with a regulated financial institution and is no more than 180 days past due.
- Existing first mortgage was originated on or before January 1, 2009.
- …among others.
Do you know someone who might benefit from this program? Enclosed is a flyer on the Hardest Hit Program, with a Promotion Code (43032) to have Crisis Housing Solutions assigned as the Advisor Agency. Or, simply contact us at (954) 587-0160 for an appointment. We’d be happy to assist with the online application.
First-Time Homebuyer Program – Helping Families Realize the American Dream
Our First-Time Homebuyer Club begun last year with BankAtlantic has grown dramatically. We now have over 90 members who want to realize the American Dream of homeownership. Through a series of workshops & one-on-one counseling, the program objective is to assist low- to moderate-income families in qualifying for a home mortgage loan. Without this assistance, it’s extremely difficult if not unlikely they could qualify on their own.
And . . . we have our first success story. Our first “program graduate” just closed on her new home in Davie. Another 17 program participants have loan application packages completed and have submitted them for lender review. Fingers crossed!!
Once again, there is no charge for this service. All we ask of participants is commitment and patience. The Club meets the fourth Wednesday of the month from 6:00-8:00pm at the Davie Community Center behind the Town Hall on Orange Drive. If you or someone you know has questions or would like to be added to our phone or e-blast “meeting reminder” list, please call (954) 587-0160.
Community Stabilization Initiative
Crisis Housing Solutions has partnered with Florida’s Attainable Home Company LLC (FAHC), a for-profit developer, on this new program to provide permanent housing solutions that will achieve the following:
- Stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods with a high incidence of foreclosures.
- Provide a source of affordable housing to under-served populations.
- Makes a difference in the lives of the families receiving program homes.
- Provides a secure place to live and stability for the families.
- Positively affects family values, health, education, dignity and hope.
CHS will leverage its non-profit status to obtain discounted REO homes through the First Look Programs of HUD and many banks. CHS and FAHC will then rehabilitate homes in targeted neighborhoods. CHS will use the homes for our own program clients (e.g., First-Time Homebuyer) or those of other programs.
To be truly effective stabilizing a neighborhood, need to do multiple homes. Beginning program emphasis will be in the Town of Davie where we have identified neighborhoods where multiple homes are available to make this impact. Funding assistance is being solicited from municipal housing departments, community redevelopment agencies, etc. to help cover:
- Rehabilitation of the homes purchased
- Purchase assistance with down payments & closing costs to keep mortgage payments affordable.
Community collaboration is a key to Community Stabilization Initiative success.
- Community business partners for volunteer work parties.
- Community business partners for in-kind donations of building materials, supplies etc.
- On “move-in” day, hold a neighborhood welcome party with partner acknowledgements, local media, etc. to increase program awareness and excitement.
Program homes would be made available to qualified residents with emphasis on low- to moderate-income households per HUD guidelines. These homeowners will also make binding commitments to maintain their property at a high level.
In addition to stabilizing & revitalizing neighborhoods and providing a new source of affordable housing, our Community Stabilization Initiative also . . .
- Complements & strengthens municipal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) efforts.
- Has a positive spillover effect to local merchants.
- Positively affects the local tax base from program homes and valuations of surrounding homes in the neighborhood.
Crisis Housing Solutions would like to recognize and thank the following partners who have already stepped up to help us “make it happen!!”
- Town of Davie Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)
- Town of Davie Housing & Community Development Department
- JP Morgan Chase & Co.
- Rip Curl Construction
- Home Depot – Davie Tower Shoppes
- Prestige Property Maintenance & Nursery – Davie
- Sign-A-Rama / Davie
If you see an opportunity for you and/or your business to be a part of this effort, please contact Craig Vanderlaan, Executive Director, at (954) 587-0160.
To provide temporary and permanent housing solutions to those families adversely affected by natural, manmade or economic disasters.
This is what we have been doing successfully since our inception in 2005. We started as Adopt a Hurricane Family in response to the need caused by the devastation from Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. In 2009, there was a strategic expansion of this mission to include those impacted by our nation’s economic disaster. In just six (6) years, over 1,000 families have benefited from our services.
Can You Help Us To Help Others?
What would a letter from a non-profit be without an “ask” for support? Particularly around the Holidays! We know that 2011 has been challenging for each and every one of us. Which is also why the services of non-profits such as ours are needed now more than ever before? However, we are totally dependent upon the generosity of others to sustain these services. While we do receive some funding from government & foundation grants, this is becoming increasingly difficult to come by due to budget cuts.
If your own budget (and heart) could allow a year-end Holiday donation of any amount to our cause, it would be greatly appreciated and put to excellent use. Also, as a 501(c)(3) corporation, any donation you make is tax deductible within IRS guidelines. A return envelope is enclosed for your convenience.
In closing, we would like to wish everyone Best Wishes for the Holidays and may you have a Happy, Healthy New Year.