Community Voices: Beyond Housing

March 18, 2009

As we continue our Community Voices series, we gave one of our partners, Beyond Housing, a Flip video camera so they could record their responses to President Obama’s new home foreclosure plan.  Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO of Beyond Housing, and Linda Ingram, Director of Foreclosure Prevention Services at Beyond Housing, both talk about the plan and what it could mean for St. Louis.

 

Below we’ve featured one of the videos.  To see the other videos from Linda and Chris, you can visit our YouTube channel, or the Community Voices section of our site.

 

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60 Minutes Feature: Providing Context

December 17, 2008

Linda Ingram – a HUD-certified housing counselor in the St. Louis region – responds to the 60 Minutes feature below:

We first heard about the next wave of foreclosures when an attorney from the Center for Responsible Lending spoke to the [St. Louis Foreclosure Prevention] Task Force.  Alt-A mortgages include the option ARM where homeowners can choose the payment to make.  These are such dangerous loans because the homeowner does not even have to pay the full interest which results in negative amortization. Those buying or refinancing are now faced with skyrocketting adjustments. Loans made in 2004 and 2005 are going to reset in 2009.  Now, homeowners cannot count on increased equity to bail them out. George McCarthy, a housing economist at New Yorks, Ford Foundation likens the Option Arm to a “neutron bomb”.  He says “It’s going to kill all the people but leave the houses standing”.  As with other mortgage difficulties we would recommend that the homeowners call a HUD certified housing counseling agency that provides help at no cost to the homeowner

If you live in the St. Louis region and are having troubles making your mortgage payment (or foresee troubles in the future) do not hestiate to contact Linda Ingram. She works for an organization called Beyond Housing and can be contacted by e-mailing lingram@beyondhousing.org or by calling 314-533-0600.


60 Minutes Feature: The Mortgage Meltdown

December 16, 2008

This 60 Minutes feature is a testament to the fact that the mortgage crisis is not over. When these Alt-A and ARM products readjust thousands of people will find themselves in foreclosure. As we’ve seen over the last six months foreclosures impact individuals, communities, and the entire economy.  Therefore, it is of critical importance that we make sure that these individuals are able to get connected to resources so that they can either save their homes or experience – what Linda Ingram describes as – “a soft landing.”

So, if you did get an ARM or an Alt-A loan, or you know that tough times are ahead, do not wait to get help. Call a local HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency. If you’re in the St. Louis region call the United Way’s 2-1-1 referral service to get a list of housing counseling agencies in your are 1-800-427-4626.

Below is the 60 Minutes segment from the weekend.


A Community-Wide Effort

December 4, 2008

As a way to illustrate the community-wide effort that has taken place with Facing the Mortgage Crisis we have created the following 3-minute video. We have been working with 26 community partners in order to connect people to resources and raise awareness of the impact of the mortgage crisis on the St. Louis region. At the end of the day this effort is not about us or our partners; it’s about strengthening the St. Louis community.

Take a look at the video below.


More Information from HOPE NOW

November 24, 2008

Written by: Linda Ingram 

HOPE NOW, the private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, non-profits, counselors and investors announced this week that it has developed a new program called SMP or “Streamlined Modification Plan”.  SMP expands what many lenders are already doing and will begin December 15th.  It is the result of working with the US Treasury, HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and major loan servicers. 

Under this plan, lenders will use an expedited process to modify or restructure loans making payments more affordable for homeowners.  Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW, says, “SMP will help stabilize the housing market”.

 

Eligible borrowers must be 90 days late, can be in foreclosure but not bankruptcy and must be living in single family owner occupied property

 

For the modification to be complete, the homeowner must make 3 payments within 90 days of the new modified payment and be current on day 90.

 

Escrows for taxes and insurance are mandatory.

 

Lenders will send letters to qualified borrowers but borrowers should not hesitate to call their lender to see if they qualify.

 

All the participating servicers and investors encourage borrowers to contact housing counseling agencies.  They can receive free counseling by calling Beyond Housing 314-533-0600 x22 or visit www.hud.gov to find a counselor.


Linda Ingram: Hope for Homeowners

November 5, 2008
November 5, 2008

 

Linda Ingram, a certified HUD Housing Counselor and the Director of Foreclosure Prevention Services at Beyond Housing, will become a regular contributor to this blog. Here is her first post:

 

What to do if you are struggling to pay a mortgage that is significantly more than the decreased value of your home?

 

Although there is a new Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program as of October 1, 2008, called Hope for Homeowners (H4H), not many homeowners know about it and even fewer lenders are actually making these loans.  If everyone would call the lenders and ask about it, maybe the program will be implemented.

 

Briefly, the loan will help homeowners refinance into a new loan insured by FHA that will be no more that 90 % of the NEW APPRAISED value. The borrower must agree to share with FHA both the immediate 10% equity and any future appreciation of the loan. 

 

You can read more about Hope For Homeowners at www.hud.gov/hopeforhomeowners

 

To contact Linda Ingram directly please call 314-533-0600 or send her an e-mail at lingram@beyondhousing.org.

 

You can watch Linda Ingram on one of our Facing the Mortgage Crisisprograms below.


888-995-HOPE offers free counseling by phone and…chat room?

August 20, 2008
August 20, 2008

After reading St. Louis Beacon’s latest mortgage crisis article, I surfed around the St. Louis Fed site to look into their foreclosure resources. Both the Fed and NeighborWorks refer homeowners to (888)-995-HOPE, a foreclosure help line run by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation.

Linda Ingram mentioned last week to me that she sometimes sends clients to this HOPE line, and has a lot of faith in the service. When I looked them up, I found a blog post near the top of the search results that criticized them for not helping people who aren’t actually in foreclosure.  I’d like to set the record straight that this is not true.

I called (888)-995-HOPE this afternoon and was immediately connected to someone who wanted to put me in touch with the next available housing counselor. I asked if there was help available to me if I wasn’t in foreclosure yet. What if I’d lost my job or my rate adjusted and I feared I’d fall behind in the next month or two? “It’s always good to be proactive and we’ve got plenty of people who can help you,” she told me.

Another service offered through them that I’ve not seen anywhere else is the option to chat online with a housing counselor. Though I believe it’s most effective to visit a counselor in person, this could still be a useful service–especially to those who can’t take time off work for an appointment. You can use the online chat feature to simply ask a few questions or to do an all-out counseling session.

 I think this could also benefit night owls such as myself. Personally, I do the most worrying (and occasionally some problem solving) between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m., usually because I forgot to make the car payment or I can’t figure out why my credit card interest rate keeps going up. I can’t exactly call these places on the phone so late, so I’d likely take full advantage of the option to get online and ask a professional what to do.  The online foreclosure chat is a new concept to me, but it may be yet another valuable free resource.

To learn more about the HOPE line or the online chat feature, visit www.995hope.org.