By the time Barbara Turner* contacted our Housing Department for assistance, she was over $10,000 behind on her mortgage payments. For the past year, she had endured many hardships that made her unable to afford her home, including domestic violence at the hands of her spouse. A stay-at-home mom to her three children, Barbara was determined to keep her family safe. And so she divorced her abusive husband and began to seek full-time employment. Paralegal Molly Howes Jefford says, “The loss of income from her divorce is in part why she struggled with maintaining her mortgage payments.”
However, after Barbara’s divorce was finalized, she found a steady, full-time job at a local school. Her financial situation slowly began to improve—until she became injured on the job. This new hardship led to Barbara missing work. Without a regular paycheck, she lost the ground she had gained and fell even further behind on her mortgage.
But once Molly reviewed her case, it became clear that Barbara was a strong candidate for the Indiana Hardest Hit Fund (HHF). HHF is a program that was started after Indiana was determined to be one of the hardest hit states by the financial crisis, meaning that Indiana experienced higher rates of foreclosure than many other states around the country. Through this program, homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage due to a qualifying hardship may find that they are eligible to receive assistance up to $30,000 to reinstate their loan.
According to Staff Attorney Chase Haller, “[This program is] meant to provide a softer landing for people who are going through those hardships because foreclosure is very damaging to a community, not just to a family.” In addition to gravely affecting those who experience the foreclosure directly, it also chips away at the overall neighborhood stability. It can even lower housing prices and the tax base within that community. The damaging effects of a foreclosure ripple out far and wide, which is why HHF exists.
In Barbara’s case, Molly submitted her application for HHF Reinstatement and she was ultimately approved. Although the process took some time, now Barbara is working again and her mortgage is current. She and her three children will be able to stay in their home.
“This case was especially important to me because of the trauma that she underwent leading up to this point,” Molly says. “Domestic violence is a complicated beast to escape from, and she was able to do it. My hope is that the Hardest Hit Fund will help provide her and her family with a fresh start.”
If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, please call our Housing Department at 317-429-4160 or fill out our Foreclosure Prevention Contact Form to see if you qualify for assistance.
*Name and identifying details have been changed.