Homeowner Options For Massachusetts Elders - H.O.M.E.
Case Histories

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Some Case Histories

  1. Anthony M. (age 80) and Marie M. (age 75) are husband and wife and reside in Arlington. They’ve lived in the same home for 33 years. Anthony suffers from Parkinson’s disease which has impaired his ability to speak and move about. Marie suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and her memory is failing (For this reason, a guardian was appointed to represent her interest). When Anthony and Marie came to the H.O.M.E. program, they had exhausted most of their savings and were in need of assistance to meet monthly expenses. Their major expense was in-home care costs which ran $3,333 a month. In order to pay for in-home care, Anthony and Marie obtained a term reverse mortgage. The term reverse mortgage provided a monthly payment of $3,500 for a period of 3 years and one month. In addition, their full debt of $32,500 was paid off from proceeds of the loan. At the end of the loan term, Anthony and Marie will have 40% of their home equity for remainder of life planning.

  2. A 70 year old Dorchester resident, Mrs. H. faced imminent foreclosure. Of Haitian descent, she had difficulty communicating with her mortgage servicer located in Kentucky. After several failed attempts to clear up a misunderstanding regarding a variable interest rate increase, Mrs. H. decided to continue paying at the old monthly rate. Rather than contact Mrs. H. to straighten out the discrepancy, the servicer chose to initiate foreclosure proceedings. According to Mrs. H., the servicer repeatedly ignored her pleas to explain the reason for the rate increase. After visiting Mrs. H. at her home and getting to know her, H.O.M.E was able to develop a strategy which effectively prevented the foreclosure. The H.O.M.E. program referred Mrs. H. to a local lender who provided her with a 30-year refinancing package that paid off expensive credit card debt and put her on firm financial footing.

  3. The counselor met repeatedly with the client (and her social workers) to discuss finances, family dynamics, the client's goals, and the need to start saving up money for upcoming goals. As time went on, it became clearer to the client herself that she did not want to remain in the area at all, never mind engage in a protracted struggle to save the house. The counselor helped identify key steps in planning for the family's long-term relocation to be near family in Florida and is working with the servicer for a deed in lieu of foreclosure, including arranging for a moving stipend to be provided by the lender. The client has put a deposit down on a house to rent next door to her sister and niece in Florida. The entire family is relieved and excited about the changes ahead, and the client has reported that she does not believe any of this process would have even started yet without H.O.M.E.'s involvement. H.O.M.E. was able to leverage clients' existing relationship with Northeast Behavioral Health's In Home Therapy program to discuss housing and financial obstacles as a group team and then leave the client and her therapists to discuss the impact on the children in the household, her health, etc. The therapists were then able to assist the client with stressful aspects of planning outside the score of H.O.M.E.'s services. Additionally, H.O.M.E. was able to arrange Merrimack Valley Legal Services to meet with and provide the client with relevant information about her rights in bankruptcy as part of an overall strategy for getting a new start in Florida.

  4. The couple, both aged 69, owns a two-family home. The clients and their grandson, whom they have raised, live on the bottom floor while they rent out the second floor to tenants. They obtained a HECM reverse mortgage (with counseling through another agency) in 2006 to pay off prior debts and did not take a monthly advance. By 2008, they were starting to fall behind on expenses after having problems with a tenant. Although the were able to rent the apartment again, they were forced to charge lower rent, which hurt their budget each month. Unfortunately, as money became tighter, they fell behind on property insurance and property taxes. The HECM servicer paid for insurance and taxes, charging up their loan balance for the amounts outlaid. Now, in 2012, the clients realize that their equity is gone, that their loan balance has reached their principal limit, and that they are in default of their loan. They now realize that they could be foreclosed upon by the HECM lender if they cannot come up with a plan to repay delinquencies while also scrounging up additional money each month for the bills they had not been paying. The counselor is working with the couple on basic budgeting skills, helping them to understand their finances for the first time in years, and working with them to ask for help from family members with aspects of bill paying and banking that are overwhelming them. They report doing reverse mortgage counseling over the phone and do not recall receiving any follow up.

  5. Client couple in danger of foreclosure requested H.O.M.E. services because as they were being repeatedly rejected for H.A.M.P. and other programs for not submitting required documentation, despite their protestations that they had sent things in multiple times. The wife has significant long-term health issue, including crippling arthritis in her hands that sometimes do not allow her to write with a pen. The husband also suffers from hand issues after an industrial accident crushed his hands a decade before. With H.O.M.E.'s help, the couple was able to obtain a 3-month trial modification with the lender, which just ended resulting in a permanent modification. H.O.M.E. counseling resulted in the clients getting on senior housing lists for future housing and identifying health and family goals that will affect their abilities and willingness to remain as homeowners in the future. Clients report that despite their best efforts, they “were getting nowhere” with their discussions with the lender until H.O.M.E. became involved. As the client couple's income and finances have changed over the months working with the couple, follow up counseling will focus on how the couple is doing under their new payment and awareness of other available services and programs, including through BenefitsCheckUp. Applying to senior housing is a vital recognition that the secured modification is likely to work for only a few years and this step, along with long-term monitoring, should prevent future problems and protect their residual equity.

  6. Largely because of financial problems, Mr. & Mrs. S. seriously considered selling their home where they had lived for over 40 years. They had recently taken out an equity loan to pay for some home repairs and the purchase of a car. They also had $15,000 in credit card debt and over $2,000 in back utility bills. Despite their financial difficulties, they very much wanted to remain in their home. After two sessions with a H.O.M.E. counselor, Mr. & Mrs. S. chose an open-ended reverse mortgage. The loan paid off their debts, provided them with $400 per month to enable them to meet their ongoing expenses, and also provided an initial line of credit for $61,500. They intend to use the line of credit only for occasional large expenses such as future home repairs.

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