Southwest Housing Solutions Teams with Freddie
Mac to Help Distressed Borrowers in 38 States
Southwest Housing Solutions is one of thirteen nonprofit organizations in the country selected by Freddie Mac to participate in an intensive outreach effort to help distressed borrowers save their homes.
The outreach effort involves nonprofits in four cities designated as Borrower Help Centers, which borrowers can visit in person, and different nonprofits that constitute the Borrower Help Network. Southwest Housing Solutions’ Housing Opportunity Center (HOC) is part of the Borrower Help Network.
HOC foreclosure mitigation counselors will call discouraged delinquent borrowers across the country to persuade them to pursue loan modifications that could allow them to afford their mortgage payments and keep their homes.
These borrowers may be eligible for a modification but never called their lender or became discouraged by the process and gave up trying.
“We know that fear and frustration are keeping thousands of borrowers from getting the help they’re eligible to receive,” said Ed Haldeman, CEO of Freddie Mac. “So we’re going to address the problem head-on by working together with nonprofit partners. These organizations are trusted and valued sources in their communities, and we believe they can make the difference in keeping families in their homes and out of foreclosure.”
The HOC was selected because its foreclosure mitigation program is performing at the highest level in the volume of cases it processes and its success rate in helping homeowners. The HOC also offers bilingual counseling.
The HOC is one of two National Council of La Raza (NCLR) affiliates in country selected to be part of the Borrower Help Network. HOC counselors will be responsible for calling thousands of distressed homeowners in 38 different states.
“It is an honor to serve as one of the major partners of the Borrower Help Network,” said Hector Hernandez, director of the HOC. “This will enable us to reach many more families who need help and could benefit from our experience and expertise.”
Counseling offered through the Network is free, confidential and “holistic.” Holistic financial counseling goes beyond mortgage issues and deals with debt and credit problems that could affect a borrower’s ability to stay current on a mortgage after a modification.
The HOC received its first list of distressed Freddie Mac borrowers at the end of last year. One of those on the list is Miriam Amaro in Coral Springs, Florida.
Miriam was contacted by Teresa Torres, an HOC counselor, who spoke to Miriam in Spanish.
Miriam bought her home two years ago for $186,000. Last summer, Miriam lost her good-paying job. She found another job, but it pays much less, and she struggled to pay her mortgage after exhausting her savings. Miriam is 57 years old.
“I was so scared to lose my home because it is the only thing I have and I have nowhere else to go,” Miriam said. “I kept praying day and night, please let me keep my home.”
Teresa worked with Miriam to gather all the necessary paperwork for a loan modification. Teresa also counseled Miriam about budgetary, credit and debt issues. As a result, a modification was worked out with Freddie Mac. Miriam’s mortgage payments were reduced by more than half, enabling her to save her home.
“As soon as I read the final modification letter, I started crying,” Miriam said. “I felt so happy and relieved.”