Recently, we told you about a divorced mom facing foreclosure with her special needs son. She and her son were only days away from being set out on the street, until we helped her get enrolled in a program that put off that foreclosure.
Due to the many calls and questions NewsChannel 9 received about the program, we did some checking and have since learned that the program has helped thousands of people who qualify, not only get caught up on back mortgage payments, but keep those payments current for months, even years later.
For many people like Robin Nolte, Keep My Tennessee home, was their only hope. She says she was never late with her 350-dollar a month mortgage payment. And when she lost her job in March 2013, she wasn't worried.
"The payments weren't really that bad," she remembers. "I could afford it on my unemployment."
But then, at the end of last year, her unemployment abruptly ended, and that's when panic set in. "How am I going to pay my light bill, how am I going to pay my house payment?" she wondered. "How are I going to eat?"
No mortgage payments, meant foreclosure and being kicked out on the street. "I was frantic," she remembers. "Actually, I probably had almost close to a nervous breakdown."
Someone at her mortgage company told her about a program called "Keep My Tennessee Home." Basically, it pays the monthly mortgage for months, even years, for homeowners who qualify. "If you have lost your job or you have lost a third of your income through no fault of your own, we can help you," says Ralph Perry with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.
Tennessee received just over 200-million dollars of federal money for the Keep My Tennessee Home program. so far, more than 7-thousand families have been able to avoid foreclosure.
That includes Mrs. Nolte, who met the homeowner qualifications.
"This program was a godsend," she says.
Perrey says, the program is a forgiveable loan.. a portion of the loan won't have to be paid back as long as the homeowner stays in the home. For Mrs. Nolte, Keep My Tennessee Home caught up her payments, and is paying her mortgage for the next two years, while she looks for another job.
She wonders where she would be now, without the program.
"I had just gotten in the program," she says. "What would I have done if I hadn't? I would be homeless today."
Folks, you'd better hurry. We are told, the Keep My Tennessee Home program IS running out of money.. the money should be all gone by the end of next month.
Perrey says, do not wait. If you have lost your job and you foresee a problem paying your mortgage, get in touch with the program right now.
Locally, it is administered by Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise. Click here to learn more about Keep My Tennessee Home and how to apply for the program.
By Calvin Sneed