Helen’s Success Story: Avoiding Foreclosure, with Help from Urban Edge

Boston resident Helen had lived in her single-family home in Roslindale with her husband and son for 15 years. Her husband owned their home and had been self-employed for over a decade. However, Helen suffered two major financial hardships within just a few years that threatened her ability to stay in her home: The family’s landscaping business failed in 2014, and Helen’s husband became very ill soon after. Helen first came to Urban Edge at the recommendation of a friend in August 2016, just weeks after her husband passed away.

The first hurdle encountered by Junie Celestin, the Foreclosure Prevention Counselor assigned to work with Helen, was discovering that Helen was not on the deed or the mortgage for the house and that her husband did not have a will. Urban Edge then referred Helen to an attorney, who helped her through the probate office.

Next, Urban Edge contacted the mortgage company and requested that they bring the mortgage current and put it in Helen’s name. In order to do this, the Community Programs department had to gather documents and create a budget, among other tasks. The mortgage company said that they would forward the required documents to Urban Edge to be filled out, signed, and submitted back to them. After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain these documents, Urban Edge contacted the Ombudsman Department at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for assistance. Despite this delay, the Community Programs department finally received the documents from the mortgage company months later.

In February 2017, Urban Edge submitted a complete application package; by this time, the mortgage payment on Helen’s home was 21 months overdue. The next month, Urban Edge requested that the file be escalated because of the still-pending decision.

In April, Helen was approved for an assumption — for the deed and mortgage to be legally transferred into her name — and for a modification with monthly payments and lower interest rates that she can much more easily afford. Helen is now a homeowner!