Disabled Couple Increases Income to Save Home from Foreclosure


Determination and Housing Counseling Equal Success

Washington, DC – October 12, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — No one wants to lose their home to foreclosure, but finding the extra money to meet loan obligations can be challenging, particularly if hindered by serious medical issues. Michael and Lora Zook, recently honored by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) as the Professional Achievement and Counseling Excellence (PACE) Housing Clients of the Year, were determined to let nothing stand between them and qualifying for a loan modification.

When the Zooks first reached out to NFCC Member Agency Apprisen, they felt defeated. Lora had survived cancer, but was left with a condition that caused difficulty walking. Michael had experienced an on-the-job injury, was not able to work, and was still in the process of applying for Social Security Disability. The combination of events, toxic to any financial situation, resulted in the Zooks falling six months behind on their mortgage payment.

“The first glimmer of hope we had in months was when we met with our Apprisen housing counselor,” said Michael. “At that time we had no knowledge of what programs might be available to help us save our home, but by the time we left her office, not only did we feel relief, but we knew we had someone in our corner.”

The Zooks’ counselor, Yvonne Fengler, immediately began researching which options were a good fit for her clients’ situation. She reviewed the HAMP requirements and consulted an amortization chart only to realize that to qualify for the modification, they would need to increase their monthly income by $500.

Determined to push through any barriers, Lora and Michael began exploring job opportunities that would allow for their disabilities. The best option was a newspaper delivery route. Michael would assemble the papers, and Lora, in spite of her difficulty walking, would deliver them. Although challenging at first, they stayed the course and were able to reach the goal of increasing their income by the required amount.

After four months they had not only saved enough money to make the initial payment to qualify for the trial modification, they had money left over which they put into an emergency savings account.

It was a long road, but after proving themselves through nine months of consistent payments, the Zooks were offered a permanent loan modification that was close to $400 less than their original payment.

Now, with Michael’s disability payments arriving, the paper route and the modification in place, the Zooks are in a solid financial position to stay in their home, and are better equipped to face any challenges ahead.

“The determination shown by Mr. and Mrs. Zook is quite inspiring,” said Mike Kappas, president and CEO of Apprisen. “They worked hard to be able to keep their home and are now putting in place the foundation for a strong financial future.”

Members of the media interested in obtaining interviews should contact Gail Cunningham at (940) 500-4100 (direct), or (240) 672-2700 (cell), or via email at ">.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services. NFCC Members annually help more than three million consumers through close to 750 community-based offices nationwide. For free and affordable confidential advice through a reputable NFCC Member, call (800) 388-2227, (en Español (800) 682-9832) or visit www.nfcc.org. Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NFCCDebtAdvice, on Twitter: twitter.com/NFCCDebtAdvice, on YouTube: www.YouTube.com/NFCC09 and our blog: http://financialeducation.nfcc.org/.

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