When the Miami musician H. Rojas reached out to NHSSF, his loan was in default and he was afraid of losing his home. Through the Keep People Housed initiative -powered by Wells Fargo- and the Housing Stability Counseling Program, both designed by NeighborWorks America and implemented through NHSSF, Housing Counseling Agencies (HCAs) like us, help homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic find the light at the end of the tunnel.
No more concerts lead to a risk of losing his home
Mr. Rojas is a musician based in Miami and when the COVID-19 pandemic started, his career was at a halt: anything involving social gatherings stopped for months. He bought a house recently and has been diligently paying his mortgage bill since then. When COVID-19 hit, everything changed. Since he wasn’t able to generate any income for months, and couldn’t keep up whit his mortgage payments, Mr. Rojas was placed on forbearance with his previous mortgage servicer for 12 months.
His loan was then bought out by another mortgage servicer, and they were the ones advising him that his loan was in default status. They sent Mr. Rojas a breach demand letter, which basically means that due to late payment(s), the borrower is officially in breach of the terms of their loan, and that a failure to cure that breach will result in the loan servicer initiating the foreclosure process.
For obvious reasons, Mr. Rojas was worried and afraid of losing his home to foreclosure. That’s when he contacted us - Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida.
Counseling and mediation assistance for Mr. Rojas
After Mr. Rojas completed our intake packet, an action plan was assessed. Our forbearance specialist, Jamie Escoto, was the housing counselor assigned to his case and together, they filled out a loss mitigation package and submitted it to Mr. Rojas’ mortgage servicer. He was missing several required documents as he is self-employed and required a profit and loss statement.
Part of the housing counselor’s job was to inquire if he had asked about any COVID-19 forbearance workouts with his mortgage servicer. He had not, but he stated in his hardship letter that he was impacted by COVID-19, and that was his reason for default. Nonetheless, he was not offered any COVID-19 workouts even when his loan is an FHA product. Ms. Escoto offered to speak with his mortgage servicer with him on the line, and he agreed, as he was not sure how to ask for assistance with a COVID-19 modification. That’s how they ended up calling Mr. Rojas mortgage servicer with him on the line and asked what COVID-19 workouts were available for his situation as he was truly impacted by the pandemic.
Further steps towards housing stability
On that same call, the mortgage servicer asked Mr. Rojas if he would like to be placed back on the COVID-19 forbearance plan, as he had time remaining, to which he agreed on.
After the call, the NHSF housing counselor then advised him that he should only utilize the COVID-19 forbearance for when he truly needs it and to not let his delinquency balance go higher. He was also told to make payments of any amount he could to his mortgage servicer, and he agreed. Mr. Rojas will remain on the COVID-19 forbearance plan for only 2-3 months as he is still playing catch up with his bills.
Checking in: Help down the road
Jamie Escoto - NHS Housing Counselor - has followed up on Mr. Rojas since that last call. He will come off the COVID-19 forbearance plan soon and the opportunity is open for NHSSF to keep assisting him. Mr. Rojas is eligible to apply for a COVID-19 recovery modification or COVID-19 Partial claim when he is ready to exit the forbearance.
If you’ve had trouble making mortgage payments due to COVID-19 hardships, or you are entering forbearance, need more time, or are ready to exit, NHSSF is here to help you!
Schedule an appointment with one of our housing counselors and get expert guidance on what to do next and what resources are available. Together we can develop a tailored plan of action that stabilizes your housing! Housing Stability Counseling Sessions are completely FREE!