10 Things Your Faith Community Can Do To Encourage Homeownership
10. Help Homeowners Keep Their Homes
Faith-based organizations are often the best "early warning" system
when families are facing financial difficulty. Encourage your organization's
members to contact a credit-counseling agency, their mortgage lender
or you, before problems get out of control. There are resources
available to help families who are delinquent in their mortgage
payments from losing their homes to foreclosure.
Being a homeowner is challenging no matter what the circumstances.
Owners must set and juggle priorities regularly to ensure that they
make the most of their investment while meeting their other obligations.
Sometimes, however, a family may become overwhelmed by the demands.
Following are several suggestions for assistance that your organization
may be able to put in place.
Many financial institutions offer "no downpayment" mortgage options.
While these mortgages have helped many, they do not create an equity
base for new homeowners. This is a precarious situation for new
owners, especially those with low and moderate incomes. No equity
means they will have no place to turn for funds to continue to invest
in and improve their homes.
- Consider setting up a savings program for new homeowners that
homeowners can access strictly for home maintenance and improvements.
When owners make their mortgage payment, they also make a payment
to the fund. In this way, especially if there is a way to subsidize
their savings, they are effectively creating a resource to avoid
situations where owners may sacrifice their mortgage payment in
order to take care of an urgent repair.
- Provide education about the law and foreclosure prevention.
More information is available at http://www.consumerlaw.org/; http://www.lssmn.org/; http://www.consumerlaw.org/consumer/sustainable_homeownership/home_owners.htm; http://www.mhfa.state.mn.us/homes/homes_foreclosure.htm
- Offer helpful referrals to prevent loss of the family home
through foreclosure. See HUD's Help
for Homeowners Facing the Loss of Their Home.