Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Foreclosure Counseling Stabilizes Households on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 11:11 AM


Heidi and Betsie Foreclosure (January 2019)

Among the services that HAC Housing Counselors Heidi Archibald (left) and Betsie Rumbaugh provide is foreclosure counseling to homeowners on Cape Cod and the Islands. 

Over the past 21 years, HAC has helped countless families and individuals stay in their homes through foreclosure counseling. HAC is the only agency certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to offer this service to residents on Cape Cod and the Islands.

“I think it helps stabilize families and keeps their kids in the same school district which provides regularity and stability for children,” said Cassi Danzl, HAC’s Director of Family and Individuals Services. “For older, elderly populations, it allows them to age in their homes where people are typically on a fixed income and can’t afford the rents here.”

HAC currently has two housing counselors – Heidi Archibald and Betsie Rumbaugh – who offer one-on-one counseling for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Cheryl Codair, HAC’s Director of Education and Engagement, provides group-based support through the agency’s financial literacy classes which include pre- and post-purchase workshops.

Since November 1, HAC has fielded 24 phone calls from homeowners seeking information about foreclosure counseling.

The process, Rumbaugh said, can be overwhelming. “I’ve had people walk in and they are very stressed and afraid about the future,” she said. “They are starting to become aware of the housing issue on Cape Cod and how difficult it is to find an alternative place to live if they lose their home.”

Counseling is aimed at building trust and providing solutions to addressing a household’s current financial situation. “We guide them to pick up the pieces so they can move forward,” Rumbaugh said.

Archibald said the sooner a homeowner can come to HAC, the better. HAC has several internal programs that can support clients, including offering one-time financial assistance to those who may have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to unforeseen circumstances such as loss of a job, illness, or divorce.

Despite the emotional nature related to foreclosures, both Archibald and Rumbaugh said they enjoyed being able to help clients stabilize their housing. “I love working with the community and contributing to helping people stay in their homes,” Rumbaugh said. “I think the fact that there is such a shortage of housing available on Cape Cod makes housing counseling very important to the community.”

HAC's Foreclosure Counseling 

Those in need of foreclosure counseling, should contact Betsie Rumbaugh at either brumbaugh@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 285.

Tags: Foreclosure, foreclosure prevention, HCEC, Cassi Danzl, Betsie Rumbaugh, Heidi Archibald, housing counselors, Cheryl Codair, housing consumer education

On the Brink of Foreclosure: One Client's Story

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 06, 2015 @ 08:33 AM
DSC 7541 resized 600Lisa and Buddy Vanderhoop with Wiley, their Weimeraner, at Owen Park Beach on Martha's Vineyard.

Imagine living in the same home for 23 years. It becomes a sanctuary – the place you not only lay your head every night, but where you find comfort, peace and make a treasure trove of memories that are impossible to put a price on.

Now imagine that being taken away from you in an instant.

That is exactly where Lisa and Buddy Vanderhoop found themselves last year. They stood at the precipice of losing the one constant in their life for nearly a quarter century. “It was the worst, most stressful time of my entire life… I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. At times I’d go from being sobbingly depressed to being numb,” Ms. Vanderhoop said. “This is where my husband grew up, where his ancestry is. If we lose this house we lose our businesses and our livelihoods.”

For Buddy, Martha’s Vineyard has always been home. It is where he was born and tied his anchor, becoming the Island’s most famous charter fishing captain with a list of celebrity clients that have included Keith Richards, Spike Lee, Michael Mann, Jim Belushi and the late-Thomas Menino. He has been featured on Chronicle, The Moth Radio Hour and the Discovery Channel.

And his wife is an accomplished artist and photographer.

Despite their success they have not been immune to life’s pitfalls. It started in 2008 when Buddy’s youngest daughter was in a car accident on Hawaii, forcing him to travel west and cancel a month’s worth of charter trips during the height of the tourist season.

The spiral downward continued when Buddy’s brother was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. “My husband would escort him off-island to medical appointments,” Ms. Vanderhoop said, only adding to the family’s expenses.

That was followed by costly boat repairs and eventually with Buddy being diagnosed with prostate cancer over a year and a half ago. That diagnosis meant Buddy was unable to work for three months as he went through radiation treatment. And then last spring, the 64-year-old Buddy Vanderhoop suffered a heart attack.

As they faced these personal difficulties over the past four years, the Vanderhoops struggled to make their mortgage payments. Several times they tried unsuccessfully to work with their lenders to modify their loan to reduce their monthly payments.

HAC: The Vanderhoop's Last Hope

Though the couple continued to make their payments, they were falling behind on their loan until March 2013 when it was placed into default. As the Vanderhoops continued to seek a home loan modification they were informed in February of last year that their loan holder, Ocwen, was starting the foreclosure process.

“Basically, everybody said we were going to lose our house,” Ms. Vanderhoop said.

Looking for guidance, they consulted a mortgage lawyer who directed them to HAC. With nowhere else to turn, she and her husband made the trip to Hyannis last May, meeting with HAC’s foreclosure prevention counselor Joan Maney.

“She was unlike anybody I have ever talked to. When we met with Joan she was no nonsense,” Ms. Vanderhoop said. “She was being very, very firm about what was needed. I left the office crying because I was so vulnerable anyway, but I was also crying with a smile on my face because this lady seemed like she knew what she is talking about.”

Two more times the pair would meet with Maney, filling out the necessary paperwork to be considered for a loan modification. Their efforts were successful as they were approved for a three-month temporary loan modification before it recently became permanent.

Their interest rate fell from 6.5 percent to two percent and they cut their monthly payments by nearly $1,900. “I truly believe it was because of your organization and Joan, why we ended up getting the loan modification,” Ms. Vanderhoop said.

Not every story has a happy ending like the Vanderhoops, but Maney said it is possible. What HAC provides, she said, is an understanding of “what the lender is looking for and how to best prepare an application.”

Because of that expertise, the Vanderhoops are now excitedly looking towards what life will bring. “It is such a relief,” Ms. Vanderhoop said. “I feel like we can take this energy and put it into our businesses and have a future, a real future.”

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Lisa Vanderhoop, Martha's Vineyard, Joan Maney, HAC, Foreclosure, Buddy Vanderhoop, loan modification

Foreclosure Crisis Is Not Over

Posted by Laura Reckford on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 @ 02:14 PM

Housing counselors at Housing Assistance Corporation who are focused on helping people on Cape Cod and the Islands with foreclosure questions and issues know that the foreclosure crisis is not over. Properties that are being put into the process of foreclosure continue to be listed in local newspapers.

The GOOD news is that it is not hopeless. Homeowners need to call and make an appointment with a counselor as soon as they think they may have a problem or concern with paying their mortgage. The sooner a counselor can start helping the better. The counseling services are free for ALL households. 

People that have applied for modifications in the past also need to come in and see a counselor.  THE RULES and GUIDELINES have changed over the past 5 years in the modification process. Counselors have seen modifications granted to homeowners first applied three or more years ago and were originally denied. This proves the homeowner needs to be persistent and continue to work through the arduous process with the lender. Counselors are here to help!

People that applied and got denied in the past may qualify for a modification under the new rules. Homeowners need to call and make an appointment with a HAC counselor at 508-771-5400.

Housing Assistance Corporation also works closely with the Attorney General’s Office on foreclosure issues and helping homeowners.

Tags: housing, HAC, housing assistance corporation, Foreclosure

Free Foreclosure Prevention Counseling

Posted by Laura Reckford on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Foreclosure counseling is free at Housing Assistance Corporation for anyone whose primary residence is on Cape Cod or the Islands. There are no income or mortgage limits.

HAC staffers explain mortgage options and the foreclosure process. They can then assist in preparing mortgage-modification request paperwork and submit the paperwork.

HAC can empower homeowners to speak with their lender and review the correspondence
from the lender.

HAC provides homeowners with debt-management counseling and on alternative housing options.

HAC is the only HUD-approved housing counseling agency serving Cape Cod and the Islands; and it has a contract and a close working relationship with the Attorney General’s office, plus over 15 years experience in mortgage foreclosure counseling.

When is the best time to contact HAC about counseling? If you are current with your
mortgage but are concerned that you won’t be able to keep up; or if your mortgage payment is past due.

Also contact HAC for counseling if your lender has sent a letter demanding money by a certain date or if an attorney has sent you a letter about your mortgage.

HAC is also the place to turn if you had little or no success trying to work things out with your lender.

Beware of foreclosure rescue scams. Avoid anyone asking for a fee in advance. Remember:
Friends don’t let friends pay for foreclosure prevention counseling. Refer family and friends to HAC.

To set up an appointment with a HAC counselor, call Liz Belcher at 508-771-5400 at extension
210 or by e-mail at lbelcher@haconcapecod.org.

Tags: HAC Workshops, HCEC, Prevention, housing assistance corporation, Foreclosure

Vineyard Man Avoids Foreclosure, With HAC’s Help

Posted by Laura Reckford on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 @ 11:51 AM


Of the many ways that Housing Assistance Corporation helps people, foreclosure prevention counseling is the one that quietly saves families from potential disaster.

HAC Foreclosure Prevention Counselor Joan Maney recently received a letter from a client, Angelo L. Dimeglio, that eloquently expressed just how important this service can be.

Mr. DiMeglio, a self-employed carpenter who lives in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, was in danger of losing his home, which he built mostly with his own hands 25 years ago.

Mr. DiMeglio’s home, Cape Cod-style with a farmer’s porch, means a lot to him. He first came to the island in 1969 when he was 12 years old. His parents loaded him and his four siblings into their Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon and they visited Cape Cod and also Martha’s Vineyard. “I absolutely fell in love with the place,” he said of the island.

He moved to the island in 1978 and was eventually able to buy a lot and build a house.

With the recession, things slowed down for everyone, including him. “When everything dropped for everyone,” Mr. DiMeglio said, he fell behind on his mortgage, “due to simple lack of work.”

He had tried to get in touch with the bank, but was unable to secure a modified loan.

“They declined me because I did not have the information filled out properly,” he wrote in a letter to HAC. “The bank was moving forward with foreclosure proceedings on my house.”

An advertisement for an auction of the house had run in the paper, and Mr. DiMeglio thought all was lost.

“To me, it felt like a life or death situation, to be honest with you,” he said of the threat of foreclosure.

Mr. DiMeglio said a friend of his told him about HAC’s foreclosure prevention services and told him to call Ms. Maney “immediately.”

He took that advice.

From his first phone call to HAC, he noted the agency’s appreciation of the urgency of the situation. He quickly received a packet of important information and an appointment.

Mr. DiMeglio credits Ms. Maney’s “utmost knowledge” in accomplishing something that he had tried to do several times himself without success.

Once the bank received the loan modification paperwork, the bank’s customer assistant specialist was in touch with Mr. DiMeglio. Not long after, the bank representative informed Mr. DiMeglio the good news that his new loan was approved by the review board.

“I am sure that without Joan Maney and the HAC, I could not have accomplished this on my own,” he wrote.

Tags: HCEC, housing assistance corporation, Foreclosure

Student Was Shaped By Family’s Hardships

Posted by Julie Wake on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Cornell student Steven Bramwell understands the challenges faced by the homeless clients HAC serves. Steven, who spent a week at HAC as part of the Alternative Spring Break team, and his family were homeless while he was in high school.
“My father has a chronic illness, and eventually we lost our home in Ohio,” Steven said. After a series of foreclosure notices and extensions, one day there was an eviction notice. With the help of some church members, Steven’s family put their possessions into storage and moved into temporary housing, including hotels.

The toughest part was “the constant stress of not knowing where we’d be the next month,” Steven said. “That was buffered because of my faith.”

Steven, who hopes to one day earn a Ph.D. in English, said, “It shapes my life to know that I have overcome this. I see the bright side of life so well.”

About HAC's Foreclosure Prevention:

In 2008, HAC started a Foreclosure Education and Prevention Center, where our experienced staff members respond to the increased need for counseling services that can help homeowners at risk of foreclosure. As of today, HAC has helped over 3,000 households with foreclosure counseling.

HAC is the only HUD-approved housing counseling agency serving Cape Cod and the Islands. This is a free service through HAC. Beware of foreclosure rescue offers that charge you money! You qualify if your primary residence is on Cape Cod or the Islands. There are no income or mortgage limits.

Read more: http://www.haconcapecod.org/programs-and-services/foreclosure-prevention/

Tags: Cornell, Project Prevention, Prevention, housing assistance corporation, Foreclosure, Cape Cod Caring Cards

HAC Wins Grant to Boost Foreclosure Department

Posted by Julie Wake on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 @ 02:25 PM
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office recently awarded HAC $167,306 to hire a foreclosure-prevention counseling coordinator for two years.
foreclosure crew 001 resized 600
“This grant will improve our capacity to see more people more quickly,” said Nancy Davison, HAC vice president of operations.

A total of $4 million in HomeCorps grants was awarded to 18 organizations across the Commonwealth to help address the foreclosure crisis, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced. The grant funding will assist homeowners and renters impacted by the foreclosure crisis, revitalize distressed and blighted neighborhoods, and guard against future financial harm. The funding is the result of a nationwide settlement involving the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers and their connection with unlawful foreclosures and loan servicing.

The Crisis Response Innovation Grants, a component of AG Coakley’s HomeCorps program, support a wide variety of foreclosure prevention and mitigation services across the Commonwealth. They are the latest in a series of HomeCorps Partnership Grants that fund loan modification assistance, free direct legal representation to distressed borrowers and post foreclosure stabilization assistance to families, as well as efforts to help communities recover from the foreclosure crisis by addressing abandoned housing and mitigating neighborhood blight.

“Our economy will never fully recover until we address the impact of the foreclosure crisis,” AG Coakley said. “These grants are designed to help strengthen struggling communities, provide direct assistance to distressed borrowers, and avoid unnecessary foreclosures. The organizations receiving these funds are doing work that is a critical part of those efforts.”

Funding for the these grants comes from the $44.5 million in funds obtained for Massachusetts as part of the national settlement with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and GMAC/Ally. According to the settlement signed in April by a federal judge, the banks are also ordered to provide an estimated $14.6 million in cash payments to Bay State borrowers and $257 million worth of mortgage relief across the Commonwealth.

The addition of a foreclosure-prevention counseling coordinator at HAC will improve the initial inquiry response time, address the increased demand for counseling services daily, facilitate documentation between the homeowner and the servicer, and allow HAC’s three foreclosure-prevention counselors more time to provide additional counseling services, including financial management.

Tags: housing assistance corporation, Foreclosure, Housing on Cape Cod

State Announces Settlement for Foreclosure Victims

Posted by Julie Wake on Sat, Oct 06, 2012 @ 08:32 AM

The Mass. Attorney General’s office announced last month that claim forms were being sent to state residents who lost their homes to foreclosure and who may be eligible for payment under a national mortgage settlement. Massachusetts received $44.5 million through the settlement.

The funds are available to homeowners who had mortgages with Allied/GMC, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo or J. P. Morgan Chase and who experienced a foreclosure occurred incorrectly between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011.

Two million postcards were mailed Sept. 17 to people who had owned homes and are believed to have been wrongly foreclosed upon. People who believe they are eligible but didn’t receive a postcard can call 866-430-8358 or visit www.NationalMortgageSettlement.com.

The amount of the claim will depend upon the number of eligible homeowners who respond. It would be $840 if all eligible borrowers submitted claim forms, but is very likely to be higher.

Tags: housing assistance corporation, Foreclosure, Housing on Cape Cod