Last June, I wrote about Larry Cross and his unusual appeal for help in what has become a much-too-usual problem - threatened foreclosure on his home in SE Portland.
Last week, I received a joyful email from Larry. He writes:
<<I signed the necessary papers today to prevent my foreclosure.
Special thanks to Kaitlin Gaffney, Constituent Services Advocate from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley’s office. She provided me the crucial piece of information to prevent the foreclosure: the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative.
I completed my application on October 24. I signed papers today, with another individual who also qualified. She and I were the 3rd and 4th people to sign papers through the Hacienda Community Development Corporation non-profit.
The counselor noted that over 1,100 people have applied. He stressed that others should also apply, since slots are still available. See here to apply.
Funds came from the federal “Hardest Hit Fund.” These funds, that prevent foreclosure, pay the arrears in full as a 5-year loan that is “forgiven” at the end of the 5-year period. The State of Oregon maintains a “junior lien” on the property for the 5 years. >>
As noted in a Huffington Post article,
<<“Long a national leader in keeping its populace caffeinated, Oregon can claim bragging rights in another category: spending federal dollars to help its homeowners avoid foreclosure.
As of June 30, Oregon had drawn down $107 million of the $220 million allocated under the Hardest Hit Fund, a $7.6 billion program administered by the Treasury Department that pushes bailout dollars to housing agencies in states especially battered by the foreclosure crisis. Oregon has spent $63 million of the funds it has withdrawn, mostly in the form of no-interest loans to help unemployed homeowners make their mortgage payments, according to state housing officials.
.... Oregon -- long a national leader in espresso carts and artisanal cupcake bakers -- can add another feather to its cap. The state has proven relatively efficient at getting Hardest Hit Fund aid into the hands of residents in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.
"We took a lot of homeowner applications at the beginning," said Margaret Van Vliet, the director of Oregon's housing finance agency, which oversees the state's program, in explaining why her state's program has distributed more aid than average. "We got out of the gate faster.">>
Margaret Van Vliet in the Huffington Post? I know her! She was Commissioner Fish's first Director of the Portland Housing Bureau, before moving up to the state. Yay Margaret! Yay us!
So, there is still plenty of money left to assist qualifying homeowners in need of a new loan to prevent foreclosure. Please pass this information to anyone who may need it.
Congratulations, Larry! And thanks to State Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer, who joined me in encouraging Larry while he worked with Senator Merkley's great staff and with responsive mortgage experts at Wells Fargo Bank. Also to Fernando Guzman, the Hacienda CDC counselor who helped Larry negotiate the process, and the State Legislature and staff who provided assistance. Please pass on the information to anyone who may be eligible.