Posted by Jessica Stone – Human Resources Coordinator:
A couple of weeks ago, I was working a day with construction, so that I could learn a bit more about that part of our business. In the afternoon, Frankie and I went to look at some of the properties that Habitat was thinking about purchasing for our NSP 2 project.
At one of the last stops, a neighbor saw us, and asked if we were looking to buy a house. He and his wife had been living next door, in their dream home, for 12 years - but had just recently been hit by a balloon payment that was taking their mortgage payments to nearly 3x what they’d been paying. This was on top of his wife having been out of work for more than a year. They were drowning under the weight of those payments, and were looking to sell their house, in the hopes that they would get enough to pay off the mortgage. It was obvious that they took great pride in their house, and were distraught at the thought of having to move.
Frankie gave them some great advice on listing their house, on things they could do to improve on what they had, and offered to get them comps for the area. I offered to send any potential job leads in the area to his wife.I left with a heavy heart. I myself had been laid off and unemployed for nearly a year and a half before I was hired at Habitat GLA, and I didn’t think that anything we could do would really help them out in the long run but we were willing to try!
This week, I called to pass along job leads in her area. When she answered the phone, she had wonderful news. She had just been offered a job the night before, and will be starting Monday. AND – they had found an attorney to look at their original loan paperwork, and he’s agreed to take their case to their bank in requesting a loan modification. He couldn’t guarantee that he’d be able to save their home, but he found some mistakes in the paperwork and felt confident that he could make a good case that the bank would be better off letting them stay in the house. I was thrilled – and then shocked when she told me that we were the ones responsible.
She said that they had been praying for something to happen to let them keep their house – for her husband’s business to pick up, for her to find a job, for the bank to agree to work with them, something. ANYTHING.
She told me that we were the first people without some kind of hidden agenda to take the time to stop to listen to their story and that we gave them the hope that they needed to get them to where they were now. She also said that she wants to come and volunteer with us sometime after they get back on their feet. She wants a chance to give someone else the sort of help and hope that we’d brought to them. Lending a hand up, not a hand out to those in need is part of our mission here at HFH GLA and I am reminded of that today.