In July 2010, Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign to encourage homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments to learn more about the Making Home Affordable © Program and the free resources made available by the federal government to help families avoid foreclosure. The PSAs feature homeowners from across the country who have benefited from the Making Home Affordable Program. Treasury recently spoke with one of those homeowners by phone – Jacqueline of Hialeah, Florida is a working mother of two and a grandmother to a three-year old girl. She is the daughter of Cuban immigrants, and has lived in South Florida for more than 40 years. Almost one year after receiving her HAMP SM modification, Jacqueline remains in her home, with mortgage payments she can afford. Read on for more of her story – in her own words…
When did you first realize that you might need help with your mortgage payments?
My interest rate was set to go up to 11½ percent. I had to close my construction business and am making less money now. My mortgage payments were becoming too high. I was watching the news and saw the President talk about this program. He mentioned specifically that this program could help struggling homeowners, including those whose interest rates were really high. He gave out the HOPE Hotline number, and I called it.
How has the Making Home Affordable Program helped you?
If it were not for this program, I would have lost my house. With this program, I can pay my mortgage. I have my house. I fell behind, and they put me into a four-month trial. I did everything the bank told me, step-by-step. Then they sent me the paperwork for a permanent modification. My interest rate has gone to 2 percent for five years, and it will never go above 4½ percent.
What advice would you give to other homeowners who might need help?
Call the HOPE Hotline. Sometimes there are free events in your area, go to those and bring all of your documents. Housing counselors can really help you. They helped me. They really did.
Any homeowner who is struggling with their mortgage is encouraged to visit http://www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov or call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) to learn about options they may have and to speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor for free. To see a video featuring Jacqueline’s story, visit: http://www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov/psa/about.html.