Joy turned to Thomas at Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
In August, Thomas met with a middle-aged woman, Joy, who was distraught after having received a notice from her bank that they would not be able to provide a mortgage modification on her home. She had been in contact with them in October of 2022 and had only missed a few payments by this time but was back on track to continue making her payments. This story has to do directly with COVID, some people have had life changing fights with the virus and devastating effects in more ways than one.
In 2020, many Americans found themselves fighting with a worldwide pandemic that affected different people in very different ways. Joy very much was a fighter, although her fights were not by choice. Joy too was affected by Covid, her employer furloughed her and the rest of her coworkers from March 20 – Nov 20. She was a cook and couldn’t find any place that was open requiring what she knew how to do which didn’t matter for long as come May of that year, Joy caught Covid, and it was vicious. A hospital-stay vicious. After a month’s long stay, still fighting the lingering effects of the virus, Joy had a stroke, and another to follow, both seemingly attributed to Covid. By November, she had burned through her savings. She had no ability to go back to work, no additional means to pay her bills.
In the early parts of 2021, Joy was able and had gone back to work. Her previous employer had hired her back. She was not the same person from whom they had previously known, her skills a bit diminished but her employer was glad to have her there, and she was as well. She had applied for a modification that year and was approved. Things were looking much better for her going forward, for a time that was. Covid struck again. This time as bad as the last. This time her employer was there, but Joy’s memory was not. Between the hospital stay and memory loss bills were neglected, almost as if she didn’t know she had them and quite possibly she didn’t as Covid caught her again and again.
She needed another mortgage modification as the bills were piling up. She was able to make the current mortgage payment but was unable to catch-up the ones she had missed. Her mortgagor was accepting her payments up until March of 2023. They did not notify her that she didn’t qualify for a new modification until days before we met. Joy was a fighter, what she didn’t know on her own she knew to look for help. Did everything she could to pay her bills when due. So far, she had been dealt a bad hand but now the tides are changing. She has put aside all the unaccepted payments but has nowhere to go for the $5,500 remaining to fully catch up. One last option, SD Cares HAFP.
We have applied for a SD Cares loan and can see the finish line. All required documents, statements and testimonials have been submitted. Our SD Cares agent seems to think that everything looks to be in line and that the application should be approved. Only time will tell, our fingers are crossed. With any luck, Covid would stay away, this woman has been through enough.
As with Joy, the same is true for many of the people in our community; the effects of Covid are still lingering. Inflation on everyday goods is still hurting, budgets are being squeezed and housing costs still very expensive and rising. With rising wages comes rising prices, a vicious cycle.
While there are still opportunities to help those in need, word needs to be spread that the earlier help is sought, the more options for resolution are available. No one has all the answers and asking for help should be viewed as a sign of strength and not an oft felt perceived sign of weakness. Addressing the problems head on with the resources available throughout the community may provide some stress relief to the challenges we are all facing.
Striving for a better financial future one family at a time.
The economy and Inflation is affecting us all. But if you are a low-to-moderate income family your struggles are magnified. It is not unusual for an individual to have a car payment of $730. With that kind of payment it is extremely difficult to survive, let alone get ahead.
You might think a person with a $730 car payment has a nice new car. In many cases that would not be correct for a credit challenged individual. It is important to provide the education for individuals, young and old, before they get that high interest loan and are locked in for 6 to 8 years. So much can happen in a life in 6 to 8 years. You can get married, have a family, get divorced, change jobs, and more. If you are unable to make that payment for the entire term, you risk harming your credit even further.
CCCSBH has a new online program called the 10 Steps to Buying a Car to help individuals improve their credit, get the transportation they need, and don’t end up with a loan they cannot repay.
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