For many homeowners, staying on top of mortgage and utility payments is easy. They have a secure job and a steady paycheck, maybe even money in savings. But once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it became obvious how even just one missed payment could cause major financial setbacks for even the most responsible homeowner.
C., a Kanawha County homeowner, knows that all too well. Although she has a great job with benefits that include sick pay, her bout with COVID last spring almost cost her her home.
“I was diagnosed with COVID in the spring,” she said. “As a result, I was in the hospital for five days. I have sick leave through my job and health insurance, but with a high deductible, so the prescribed medications were all out-of-pocket and expensive. I fell behind on my payments trying to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ just to keep the water and lights on. I just could not catch up.”
C. missed a payment to her electric company, prompting them to cancel her payment plan and charge her more than $1,000 to stay connected. She took some money she had set aside for her mortgage to make the payment, and the company suggested she apply for the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program to help her catch up on her other utilities.
“I applied and was approved for the remaining balance with my power and water companies,” she said. “During that process I noticed the mortgage assistance option.”
As a homeowner for 19 years, C. has built plenty of equity in her home. Going into foreclosure would not only risk her credit score and financial future, but also leave her homeless.
“The program saved my home,” she said. “My lender is not easy to work with and they simply said you’re out of time and options are you either catch the payments up or you will be homeless.”
While her application for utility assistance was pending, C. reached out to the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program about her mortgage payments. She was told she met the eligibility requirements, and the program worked with her mortgage servicer to bring her payments current.
“When I reached out to the program and advised I was facing foreclosure the payments were paid within days,” she said. “This was a huge relief to me! I was able to go to the grocery store and buy more than a few items, and able to sleep at night. I cannot express what a weight was lifted off of me.”
Thanks to help from the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program, C. and others across the state can stay in their homes and connected to utilities without worry.
“If someone needs help, whether utilities or mortgage, don’t hesitate to apply,” she said. “The program is there is help. If your need is urgent like my mortgage assistance was, let the program know. This will help them move to get the claim paid as soon as possible. This program is a saving grace to West Virginians. It saved my home. I am forever grateful.”
For more information about the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program, visit www.wvhomerescue.com or call 1-844-542-0035.