INDIANA –When the economic crisis of 2008 hit Indiana, some Hoosiers got the worst of it. Elkhart County had the highest unemployment rate in the country and people lost their homes and much of what they had worked long and hard to save. But, people can avoid the same thing if they are willing to take some action to save what they’ve worked for.
“Similarly as in 2008, we have a group of Americans that are either out of work or have a drastic reduction in hours,” said Marietta Rodriguez, CEO of NeighborWorks America, a company that helps people avoid losing their homes.
She said because of the pandemic and the resulting shutdowns, people may not be able to pay their mortgage on time, or pay all of it.
“There are programs. There are resources your lender can extend to you if you’re not able to make your mortgage payment today.”
Rodri8guez said many people didn’t know what to do, and froze up, not contacting their lenders and not paying their notes, which led to foreclosures. But, she said there’s nothing worse than doing nothing.
“They can reach out to their lender. They can seek a forebearance. If that is a little intimidating, which we can understand how it is, then we would encourage folks to reach out to a HUD-approved housing counseling agency,” said Rodriguez. She said NeighborWorks can also help.
“You can get a professional housing counselor to work with you and navigate the process along with you.”
Rodriguez said it’s also important that you are aware of scams. Some that popped up in 2008 included companies that appeared to be able to help people with mortgages.
“Whether it’s coronavirus testing scams, economic stimulus scams, enhanced unemployment benefit scams,” she said people should know what kind of scams are happening where they live.