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All is Not Lost

For Diana Bradi and her family, the threat of foreclosure was the threat of losing everything –and with two mortgages and a struggling business on the line, losing everything meant losing a lot. With the economic downturn, Diana and her husband had resorted to using the money they had for their business to cover the mounting charges on their credit card bills. They were almost five months behind on their mortgage payments, facing a ballooning credit card balance, and Diana knew they needed help. “I was losing both of my homes,” she recalls, “and the credit card balance got so high it couldn’t be paid. We weren’t able to pay back all the late charges.”

When financial hardships build up, the process of bringing them back into balance can be overwhelming. “We didn’t know how to fill out the paperwork [for the modifications], and we were confused,” Diana says. A friend recommended that they try Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH), where they met Homeownership Counselor Tabitha Rodriquez, who pointed them in the right direction. Because they needed help with both properties, it was extra important that they document every detail, and Tabitha’s support helped Diana ensure that everything was done correctly. “She never made us feel awkward. She was able to tell us ‘this is what you need to turn in,’ and she would let us know every step of the way.”

As they continued to work with Tabitha, Diana learned that a counselor can help with more than submitting paperwork. Together, they created a budget from every piece of the household finances, even the details of their grocery shopping habits, to make sure that every purchase was necessary. “We had to eliminate a lot of stuff,” Diana says, aware of the toll their changed financial situation has had on her two teenaged children. Sticking to the budget has been crucial for making sure they are getting what they need, especially with Diana’s daughter entering high school, where she’s required to have a laptop. “I’m trying to provide them a future,” she says. “Their future is my future now.”

Ultimately, they could not save one of their properties, the larger house that the family had been living in. But when Diana received the news that they’d been approved for a modification on their smaller property, she was happy and relieved. “I called Tabitha right away,” she remembers. “She was there to hold our hand, and sometimes that’s what you need.”

For Diana and her family, all is not lost. Diana feels optimistic about moving into the smaller property. These challenges have shown her the importance of focusing on what matters in life. “Be happy with the memories you’re making, not the material things,” she says. “Home is the memories you build with your children and family.”

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