KEEP YOUR HOME AFFORDABLE
Foreclosure from page 11
need to pick up the phone and call to
determine if they may be eligible.
"It is amazing:' Beemer said. "If we
told families they could turn in their
clunkers for $3,000 off on a new car, we
might have a line around the building.
But if we tell people they can save as
much as 50 percent on their monthly
mortgage payment that could amount
to tens of thousands of dollars over the
life of the loan, they do not call until
they are in default or facing loss of their
home to foreclosure. They think a loan
modification program is not for people
who are current on their mortgage or is
"Our goal," Burkhardt said, "is to help
people navigate the system and to take
some of the headache out of the process
and improve their financial lives."
JHA was started in January 2008 at
the offices of Jewish Family Service of
Metropolitan Detroit in West Bloomfield
to assist Jewish homeowners who were
in foreclosure. In July 2009, the govern-
ment expanded programs to assist not
just low-income families or families in
default on their mortgage loans, but also
middle-income families who are not in
default and trying to make ends meet.
JHA is providing the personnel, sys-
tems and process for people to easily
file applications, determine eligibility
and negotiate a reduction in their home
mortgage payment free of charge.
JHA opened its Southfield office,
but does not want to experience the
........................ • JHA At A Glance
• Formed in January 2008, the nonprofit
"The intent of the program is
corporation maintains two offices:
• The West Bloomfield office in the
to allow people to sleep better
• Jewish Family Service building is set up
• to assist families who are experiencing
at night and to avoid being
• serious delinquency or foreclosure along
with familial issues affecting the stability
delinquent on their mortgage
of their families. Working in coordina-
with all of the services available to
due to a worsening economy,
our community through Jewish Family
Service and other sister agencies, the
especially in the Detroit area."
West Bloomfield office is designed to
- Patricia Burkhardt, managing director
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stabilize families in urgent need of com-
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same problem the program is having
nationally. About 11 percent of eligible
families have submitted Making Home
Affordable applications. "This is too
valuable a program to simply let go
unnoticed and under utilized by our
community," Burkhardt said. "Lifestyle
choices that middle-income families
enjoyed before the current crisis can be
made easier if they take advantage of
There are many for-profit loan modi-
fication companies that charge as much
as $2,500 to $5,000 for this service,
which is being offered free of charge to
the Detroit Jewish community. While
JHA staff salaries have been funded by
generous individual donations, JHA has
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many programs that donors can give to;
special funding gifts can be individually
The Jewish Housing Association
speaks to one of Federation's core val-
ues: strengthening our community. "The
beauty of the JHA programs is that they
provide the expertise to help families
who are struggling to access govern-
ment tools that will greatly reduce their
expenses," said Federation CEO Scott
Kaufman. "The savings to families is
tremendous relative to the investment of
communal funds in the JHA."
More useful information is
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available at www.jhamd.org.
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o Call JHA for a
• confidential review:
• (248) 592-3980
or (800) 458-0404.
• In 2009, the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development created
a loan modification program to assist
middle-income families. JHA opened
a Southfield office to assist middle-
income families in filing these applica-
tions to determine eligibility under
the Home Affordability Modification
Program (HAMP) and Home Affordability
Refinance Program (HARP).
Understanding Your Housing Options
Q: I have been hearing of some new government programs to save my home and
I'm confused about what to do or I've already filed paperwork with the mortgage
company to modify my mortgage or put a repayment plan in place but can't get
anyone to help me. What do I do now?
A: There are new programs coming out all the time. In particular, under the Making
Home Affordable Initiative, as modified in July 2009, you do not have to be in default
(behind) on your mortgage to qualify. There are two types of assistance under this pro-
gram. One allows a modification of the current terms of your mortgage so that you can
reduce your mortgage payment and the other offers a refinance of your mortgage even
if you owe more than your house is worth. For those mortgage companies that don't
participate in these programs, most are offering some type of relief. You can contact JHA
directly and one of its loan modification specialists can determine if you are eligible and
explain options that might be available to you based on current programs being offered
not only by the participating lenders in federal government programs.
A: A Notice of Default is the first indication that the mortgage company is flag-
ging your account for future legal action if you do not address the delinquency of
your mortgage payments. In most cases, a Notice of Default is issued after you have
not paid your mortgage payment for at least one to two months in a row. It requires
a response by a certain date before your account is forwarded to an attorney to
begin the formal legal proceedings to foreclose on your home. It is important that
you contact your mortgage company right away to discuss your options.
Q: Are there any new laws that can help me avoid foreclosure of my home?
A: Effective July 5, 2009, Michigan law also requires foreclosure proceedings can
not commence unless notification is given by the law firm filing the foreclosure
allowing 14 days to begin working with a foreclosure counselor to negotiate a work-
out plan. Assuming you make the timely request, you may have at least 90 days to
negotiate a loan modification.
Q: Does having cash in the bank prevent qualification for loan modification?
A: While many banks limit eligibility for loan modification if you have cash in the bank,
Q: I am behind on my mortgage payments and other bills and am afraid that I
will lose my home. What can I do?
generally IRAs, pension and profit-sharing plans and other retirement assets will not
adversely affect your ability to qualify for such modification. Also, most lenders allow
you to have at least three times your monthly mortgage payment as cash in the bank.
A: You can contact JHA for a confidential interview. After providing some basic
information, an appointment can be set up for you. Since every situation is specific
to each family's circumstances, a plan of action tailored to meet your goals and
specific needs will be created to help you. Depending on your situation, some of the
options that may be available are:
• Determine if the federal Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP)
Q: I have received a Notice of Default in the mail from my mortgage servicer.
Am I losing my home?
December 3 = 2009