Written by Jael Cain
Hello, my name is Jael Cain and I am an AmeriCorps Foreclosure Intervention Specialist at Wayne Metro Community Action Agency! In this position my focus is to help people who are at risk of losing their homes. This is my second year as an AmeriCorps member and it has been especially rewarding for one key reason: I have really grown to understand my role and the clients’ positions in the foreclosure crisis.
Being on the verge of foreclosure is stressful and frightening, so our goal is to empower residents who have faced financial hardship. I would like to share a story with you — a story about a specific client whom I had the pleasure of assisting.
One day a gentleman called in desperately seeking assistance, and he noted that a previous Step Forward client of mine had recommended that he give me a try.
In order to qualify for Step Forward, you must have experienced a hardship that resulted in getting behind on your taxes — and the hardship must line up with the delinquency. It must also show that if given the help, you can successfully make payments going forward. (You can learn more about the Step Forward program in this CEDAM blog post.)
After discussing his situation and triaging him over the phone, I found that he would be a great candidate for the Step Forward program himself. My client was a victim of a critical motorcycle accident that left him partially disabled, and he had been behind on taxes for a couple of years — he owed around $23,000 in back taxes.
While he had heard of the program from his friend, he was unsure of how the program worked. I made him an appointment so we could meet, get his questions answered and ease his nervousness about applying.
My client worked diligently to get everything in order as quickly as possible so I could send in his application. Seven days after I sent his application, Step Forward reached out to my client and asked for another piece of documentation. Again, he was on top of it: he contacted me immediately and asked where he would he need to go to get what was needed. That same day I was able to send in the form.
Good news from Step Forward came a couple of days later. His application was in the final stage, and his case looked good.
A week later, he received a voicemail stating he needed to contact them and it was “urgent”. This message made him extremely nervous; he called me and asked if I had heard any information. I hadn’t, so I called on his behalf.
The urgent information, it turned out, was that he had been approved and the paperwork was on the way to his house to be signed in front of a notary. When my client got the paperwork, he called me and scheduled an appointment that same day to get his paperwork notarized via my site.
I will never forget the smile he came in with that day. When we were going over the paperwork, he thanked me and the tears began to flow. At Wayne Metro, we believe our coaching and assistance is 80/20 — meaning the client puts in 80% and we are their guide for the additional 20%. He was a client that went even further beyond that, and I am happy to have helped him save his home.
Learn more about AmeriCorps.