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Where to go for mortgage and debt help

Q. We are struggling to make our house payment and are now past due. We also have credit card debt and medical bills. It feels like we are sinking. There are so many different companies advertising various kinds of help that I’m not sure where to go. Any suggestions? 

A. There are a number of companies that offer help, but many have restrictions on the types of debt they will help with.  Unfortunately, I see individuals go to one company for mortgage help, another company for help with credit cards, and still another company for help with all their other debts.  This is not a good solution.  For your finances to improve you need a cohesive plan that addresses all of your financial issues.  When you go to a variety of companies to handle different parts of your debts you do not have a coordinated plan that works.  It is likely you will end up paying too much in fees for services.  In addition, you may find that the progress you make is one area is offset by setbacks in other areas.   

Not all companies that assist with mortgage delinquencies and debts are reputable.  It is important that you do your research.  Find the company’s Better Business Bureau rating.  Check to see if there are complaints against the company.  When it comes to your money, you are often better off working with a local established company with a good reputation.

You need solutions that address your housing situation and all your debts.  Look for a non-profit accredited credit counseling agency that is also a HUD approved housing counseling agency.  Most sessions will start with a no or low cost budget counseling.  The counselor needs know what your income, expenses, and debts are in order to help you review all the options available to you.  Everyone’s situation is different.  People owe different debts, are at different stages of delinquencies, have different incomes, and have different needs and household expenses.  It is important that the organization you work with has counselors trained in mortgage delinquency options. 

A counselor will help create a budget that will work for you now and in the long term.  They will develop an action plan that address any mortgage delinquencies and all your debt, not just part of it. 

Before things get any worse I suggest that you make an appointment with a non-profit accredited credit counseling agency that is also a HUD approved housing counseling agency.  It is important that you address all your debts and find the best options to improve your entire financial situation. 

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills, a United Way member agency. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.

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