Disaster Relief Stories
During an extremely challenging year, we continued our commitment to helping homeowners and communities affected by disasters navigate the recovery process. Our Disaster Response Network™ offers eligible individuals free support from HUD-approved housing counselors. Learn how this personalized guidance helped homeowners get back on track.
Finding support and success
Right after losing his job in March 2020, a homeowner contacted one of our counselors through the Disaster Response Network. He knew that he would be unable to pay his mortgage due to the disruption in income. His Money Management International counselor helped him review his budget and discussed prioritizing his expenses and securing utility assistance. They talked about his mortgage forbearance and the importance of contacting his servicer right away and having regular, monthly updates. In a follow-up communication, the homeowner let his counselor know that he was able to secure the forbearance and was even able to continue making regular partial payments on his mortgage.
Getting back on track
A homeowner, concerned by her current financial situation, was worried that there was a chance she would lose her home. She had previously worked with counselors to become credit card debt-free. With that positive experience in mind, she called the Disaster Response Network and was connected to a Money Management International counselor. They walked through her income, expenses, and the status of her mortgage. The counselor outlined her options and explained which one was best for her. They made sure she understood her responsibilities and the urgency of contacting her servicer again as soon as possible. Before the call, the counselor helped her practice the conversation and coached her through what to expect. The homeowner let us know that the second call with the servicer went exactly as she had hoped and that she felt like she was on the right path.
Small changes, big results
In late March 2020, a homeowner who was out of work due to the pandemic and unsure about future finances contacted the Disaster Response Network. He was connected to a Money Management International counselor, who reviewed his situation, budget, options for mortgage payment, and additional debt repayment. The counselor worked with him to make changes to his spending and helped him request payment relief from his non-mortgage creditors. As a result, the borrower was able to stay current on his mortgage payment. The borrower also received back pay for unemployment benefits and was able to return to work. He continued to work with his counselor to transition off the payment relief programs as his hours at work increased.
Helping a veteran rebuild
A Navy veteran living in Lake Charles, LA, was unemployed due to COVID-19 and took advantage of a COVID-related forbearance. Things started looking up — he was able to return to work (albeit at a lower income), made his third trial period payment, and was waiting for permanent modification documents. Then Hurricanes Laura and Delta hit, severely damaging his home and truck, which he needed for work. He called Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network for counseling on the status of his modification, his options to recover and rebuild, and which parts of his recovery to prioritize. His Money Management International counselor explained the roles of FEMA, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and his insurance and referred him to local organizations providing aid to natural disaster survivors. Together, they created a plan with clear goals and next steps. He was able to secure a new disaster forbearance, start repair work on his home, fix his truck, and return to work quickly. He successfully implemented the spending changes that his counselor recommended and is preparing to resume mortgage payments. The savings through budget changes and mortgage relief allowed him to decline an SBA disaster assistance loan, and he is on track to complete his recovery in early 2021. His long-term goal is to open his own business, which he believes can be achieved within the next year.