Step Forward and Southwest Solutions help Southfield homeowner keep her home

August 16th, 2016
Wendy Milam in front of her home in Southfield

Returning from work one evening in April, Wendy Milam’s heart sank when she saw the sheriff’s sale notice on her front door.

Wendy had lived in the Southfield home for 14 years. She had fallen behind in her mortgage and escrow payments when she became unemployed last August. It took her eight months to find another job, during which time she has no income and her savings dwindled.

After seeing the sheriff’s sale notice, Wendy applied on her own to the Step Forward Michigan program, which helps eligible homeowners at risk of foreclosure because of hardships that have hurt their ability to pay their mortgage and property taxes.

Wendy’s initial application to Step Forward was turned down in June. She immediately contacted Southwest Solutions, a HUD and MSHDA approved agency, to seek the assistance of one of our homeownership counselors.

“When I called, I was in tears because I was feeling hopeless and stressed that I wouldn’t have a roof over my head,” Wendy said. “I spoke with Lupe [Zarate]. She reassured me that I had options and they would do everything they could to help me.”

Wendy began working with our homeownership counselor Olga Ortiz-Rodriguez. Olga helped Wendy reapply for Step Forward and also began the process of requesting a loan modification from Citi Mortgage.

“Olga handled my case with professionalism and she also kept my morale up,” said Wendy. “She stayed in constant touch with me to update me about my application.”

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Wendy’s home in Southfield

In mid-July, Step Forward notified Wendy that her application had been approved. She was awarded $30,000, which is the maximum amount that Step Forward allocates. This money will be used to pay off missed mortgage and property tax payments, plus penalties that had accrued, and will also be used to pay half of Wendy’s mortgage and escrow payments for one year.

Olga is continuing to work on a possible loan modification to make Wendy’s monthly payments more affordable for the long term.

Step Forward has helped more than 30,000 homeowners in Michigan to stay in their homes. It is funded through the federal Hardest Hit Funds program.

To inquire about Step Forward Michigan, call us at 313-841-9641.

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