Don't Just Take Our Word for It...
Real stories from real people about how Save the Dream Ohio saved their home.
Dawn and Matthew: "It's so liberating to know that we are going to be able to keep our home."
Like most individuals who have felt the effects of the economic downfall, Richland County residents Dawn and Matthew never dreamed they would be faced with losing their home. The couple purchased their "dream home" in 2007 and settled in with their 3-year-old daughter. But in 2009, Matthew's company downsized and he was laid off, leaving the couple worried if they would be able to stay in their home.
"When he lost his job, we realized we wouldn't be able to make our house payments along with the other debt that we had accrued over two years," Dawn said.
In order to keep their home for the future, Dawn and Matthew made the decision to move out and rent their house. The couple rented a less expensive home that allowed them to save a little bit of money.
After Matthew was able to find employment again, the couple decided to move back into their home. They were able to make a few mortgage payments using the money saved while renting. But when the money began to run low, it became harder and harder for the couple to meet all of their expenses. Like many Americans, while Matthew was once again employed, he was now underemployed, earning less than what he earned during his past job.
Dawn and Matthew turned to their bank to see what options were available. Unbeknownst to them, the couple was informed that they did not qualify for any assistance until they became delinquent on their mortgage.
"We didn't want to fall behind but they told us that there was nothing they could do until we were delinquent," Dawn said. "So we stopped making our payments but when we tried to apply for their programs, we were told we didn't qualify." Dawn and Matthew (Richland County)
The couple was notified the foreclosure process had begun on their home.
"Over the course of eight months, it became very frustrating because we thought for sure we were going to lose the house," she said.
In the early spring of 2013, Dawn saw a TV a commercial for Save the Dream Ohio on a Cleveland news station. Coincidentally, around the same time, she also was informed of the program through a representative with her lending company. Dawn immediately applied for assistance through Save the Dream Ohio.
"It was such an easy process and within three or four weeks we received a call that we were qualified and approved for the program," she said. "I immediately started crying because I felt like this huge burden was lifted off my shoulders and I could breathe and go on with life again."
In June 2013, Dawn and Matthew began receiving Rescue Payment Assistance to bring their loan current and Mortgage Payment Assistance for 18 months.
The couple is once again looking forward to future plans in their home.
"Right before Matthew lost his job, we were starting the process of adoption but when he was laid off, everything was put on hold because any extra money had to be put towards our house," Dawn said. "Once I got the call, it was amazing because we could now go back through the [adoption] process."
"Everything's falling into place now and we're able to live and we're able to make small plans for the future," she said.
Dawn recommends that homeowners who are facing foreclosure call the Save the Dream Ohio hotline to see if they qualify for assistance.
"I would tell others in my situation to just try it because you don't want to have regrets," she said. "It's so liberating to know that we are going to be able to keep our home."
Lynn: "The assistance gave me the opportunity to say 'Ok, what are you going to do to turn things around? '".
Lynn, a resident of Hancock County, was at risk of losing her home of 14 years when she was laid off in April 2011. An x-ray technician for 16 years, Lynn struggled to find another full-time job in the local area. Living on unemployment, Lynn said it became increasingly difficult to keep a roof over her head, pay her monthly expenses and provide for her 13-year old son.
She turned to Hancock County Job and Family Services to see what assistance was available and was informed of Save the Dream Ohio. She applied for the program in June 2011 and was approved in the winter of 2012. Lynn received Mortgage Payment Assistance for 15 months.
"I was absolutely elated that I wouldn't lose my house," Lynn said. "I was so thankful for the program."
Unable to find a full-time position in her field during the time she received assistance through Save the Dream Ohio, Lynn decided to return to school to further her education and become an ultrasound technician.
"I'm hoping that in my future, the new degree will help increase my job opportunities," she said.
Lynn said without the assistance through Save the Dream Ohio, she wouldn't have been able to think about returning to school.
"It helped me in the long term," she said. "I realize it just bought me time and gave me the chance to think about what I am going to do to ensure my future."
"At first when you lose your job, you're just not thinking clearly and you're so devastated," she said. "The assistance gave me the opportunity to say 'Ok, what are you going to do to change things around?'." Lynn (Hancock County)
Lynn recommends applying for the program to others in her similar situation.
"I would tell anyone to just apply and stick with it," she said. "It's really worth it. I don't know what I would have done without [Save the Dream Ohio] to keep my home."
Tammy: "It was a complete relief that I wasn't going to lose everything."
Tammy, a nurse, never dreamed she'd be unemployed, unable to find a job and struggling to pay her bills. But in 2012, Tammy hit what she calls "a hard road".
A resident of Highland County, she purchased her home in 2008 with her fiancÃ©e and the couple married in 2009. After three years of marriage, the couple separated and Tammy was left with the home. Shortly thereafter, Tammy was laid off from her job.
"My whole world was completely different," she said. "I went from making $90,000 a year to nothing." Tammy (Highland County)
Struggling to keep up, Tammy began to research available resources online and found Save the Dream Ohio's website. She contacted staff at the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and began the application process. In the midst of applying for the program, Tammy was hit with another hurdle – her house caught on fire and was badly damaged.
While the house was being rebuilt, her lender required her to continue making her mortgage payments. To keep current with her mortgage, Tammy borrowed money from her grandparents until work on the house was complete.
She moved back into her home in January 2013 and was immediately approved for Mortgage Payment Assistance through Save the Dream Ohio.
"I couldn't believe that I qualified," she said. "It was a complete relief that I wasn't going to lose everything."
Tammy said while she was apprehensive to apply for Save the Dream Ohio at first, she is thankful she took the chance. She credits her housing counselor for all of his hard work to get her approved for the program.
"It's embarrassing to have to ask someone for help because I've always been self-sufficient and taken care of myself," she said. "He completely saved my life and was amazing and didn't make the experience degrading."
Tammy is now working as a nurse in a full-time position and also has a second job. She is looking to the future, thankful for what she has been given.
"It's been a blessing because I now have time to get back on track and get back to where I was financially before everything," she said.
In an area that has been hit hard by the economic recession, Tammy said she tells everyone she can about the Save the Dream Ohio program.
"I have told many people and some were apprehensive but then I just tell them to try it," she said. "Being able to keep your home is so worth it. It never hurts to try."