Responding to Community Housing Needs

Homeownership Success Stories

Foreclosure Prevention Success Stories

"Solving this problem has really taken a huge burden off me. I didn’t want my (adult) daughter to be stuck with me and her brother living with her and I didn’t want us to wind up homeless, or split up. Now I can move onto other goals!"

Eva had always been an independent woman. She was in the military, has put herself through school and bought her own home. After years working two jobs, in retail and the hotel industry in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, her hours were cut back at the store where she worked. She tried to pick up additional hours at the hotel to make ends meet, but the lagging economy meant fewer hours, not extra pay. Eva cut back on expenses as far as she could, but began falling behind on her bills.

As the mother of an adult autistic son, things got worse for her when assistance was eliminated for his care. Eva called NCALL once she knew she couldn’t keep up with her bills. She met with one of our Foreclosure Prevention counselors. According to Eva,

"They did such a good job helping me with everything. They taught me about budgeting and money management. I learned to keep my receipts and save money where possible."

One piece of advice from NCALL really paid off for Eva. She needed to increase her income in order to keep her home. With no extra retail or hotel work in sight, Eva put her skills to work and opened her own business. The Sewing Company is located above an antique store in Milton, Delaware. She restores quilts, rugs, upholstery, and does alterations. Her business is her passion now. Eva is overjoyed to finally have a career that she truly loves. “My business is really blessed,” she said.

"I also learned to budget and use what you have. I got rid of all my credit cards and now only use debit cards. Being positive and flexible can get you through tough times."

After going to mediation with NCALL, her mortgage was modified and is now at an affordable 4% interest rate, decreasing her payment over $120 per month. Saving her home has provided her with a great sense of relief.

"Solving this problem has really taken a huge burden off me. I didn’t want my (adult) daughter to be stuck with me and her brother and I didn’t want to us to wind up homeless, or split up. Now I can move onto to other goals!"

Eva’s other goals include making an impact on her community. She is planning to host a fashion show, showcasing styles and trends over various decades, to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The foreclosure prevention process is not a quick one. After working with more than 800 households this year, NCALL has over 400 families waiting for loan modifications from their servicer. For many, perseverance can pay off.

"NCALL’s counselors are so nice and caring."

Constance is now on disability. Her mortgage was no longer affordable to her based on her reduced disability income. She had tried two times on her own to get a mortgage reduction, but had not been approved by her lender. “I worked very hard to get this home,” Constance shared. "I couldn’t even imagine loosing it. Where there’s a will there’s a way. I was not going to give up!”

Constance contacted NCALL and within several months received the word she had been waiting for. Her mortgage had been reduced by almost $200/month. According to Constance, “It may not be much to some people, but that will really help me out.”

“When I tried on my own it was very rough. The people I had dealt with had no compassion. NCALL’s counselors are so nice and caring. They rate high in my book. My counselor was so helpful; she even assisted me with legal papers. It was just so encouraging to know that I had an advocate, somewhere to go to get help with advice and paperwork.”

Constance has advice for other people in a similar situation:

“Don’t give up! Reach out to agencies like NCALL to get you prepared and help you. Lots of people are confused and think they have to go through this alone. You have to do your part, but NCALL is there for you.”

"I think NCALL’s services are great!"

When Kenneth and Kathy purchased their Lincoln, Delaware home in 2000, their mortgage was an adjustable rate that began at 9.75%. They planned on refinancing in two years to avoid the rising interest rate, but were unable to do so due to poor credit history. They kept up with their mortgage until last year; the payments just got to be too much.

Kathy works in accounting and Kenneth has his own lawn care business. Several seasons of unagreeable weather lowered their household income. Kenneth looked for alternative employment with no luck.

They decided to put their home up for sale. In the six months it was on the market, they had no interested buyers. The poor economy was really hurting their already desperate situation. The bank was sending foreclosure intent notices and the couple was distraught.

“I cried for months,” said Kathy. “Losing this house would have torn me apart. I would really have felt like we let our family down.”

They have four children ranging up to 21 years of age. They were not sure where they would all go if their home was lost. Then they read about the home loan modification program. They tried contacting their mortgage servicer, but got nowhere.

That is when they contacted NCALL and attended a Foreclosure Prevention workshop. After the workshop, Kenneth and Kathy met with their counselor one on one. NCALL’s counselor was able to negotiate with their mortgage servicer and got them a 2% fixed interest rate on their loan. Their house payment is now much more affordable. As a condition of the new loan, Kenneth and Kathy attended credit classes.

“Now we feel like we are starting over. We learned a lot along the way, like to use our credit cards wisely and save while you can. I think NCALL’s services are great!”

"If it wasn’t for NCALL, I would be living in my truck."

Ron owns his home and his own business, but this past year all that was in jeopardy. Like many people, this Vietnam Veteran almost lost his home to foreclosure.

After several booming years in the lawn care business, the drought the summer of 2007 put a definite crimp in his income. After a few months of using his savings to stay afloat, Ron knew he needed help. He started calling his mortgage servicer with no success. Then he received a list of agencies that provided foreclosure counseling services in the area. NCALL was on the list and he made the contact.

With NCALL’s assistance, Ron applied for the Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (DEMAP), which provides assistance up to $15,000. While awaiting their decision, NCALL continued working with Ron by communicating with his mortgage servicer and helping him to demonstrate reliable income. After working with NCALL for approximately five months, Ron received the DEMAP loan resulting in a four month respite from his mortgage.

“My NCALL counselor really stuck with me,” said Ron. “It was a great outcome that really gave me some breathing room. If it wasn’t for NCALL, I would be living in my truck. It’s a really good experience to know that someone is working to help you. NCALL did wonders!”

“NCALL does more than most people imagine,” says Ron. “I have recommended NCALL to several people. If you don’t call NCALL, don’t blame me!”

Homeownership Counseling Success Stories

"I never thought in a million years that owning my home would be a possibility. As a single woman raising two kids, it didn’t seem possible, but NCALL’s program is laid out step-by-step and they provided such positive motivation."

When the house that Elisa was living in with family was being sold, a friend recommended that she purchase her own home. According to Elisa, “I never thought in a million years that owning my home would be a possibility. In my mind, I thought you had to earn a lot of money. As a single woman raising two kids, it didn’t seem possible.” But, a co-worker recommended that she come to NCALL to learn more about homeownership and the home buying process.

She took his advice and signed up for NCALL’s Preparing for Homeownership class. Meeting with NCALL was a very positive step for Elisa.

"I felt really empowered. The initial meeting with my counselor was exceptional, and after the first workshop I was floored! I thought that I really could do this!"

"I have heard that buying a home can really be a nightmare, but NCALL’s program is laid out step by-step and they provided such positive motivation. I just kept taking baby steps."

After a few months of preparation, Elisa began to search for a home for her family. She didn’t even tell her children, daughter 16 and son 13, of her plans to purchase a home because she didn’t want to disappoint them if it didn’t work out.

"I had my heart set on a certain home. It was in the same school district and it needed a bit of work. I felt very comfortable with the price."

By the time she made an offer it was no longer on the market and Elisa was crushed. She kept up her search, but couldn’t forget that original house. Weeks later the Realtor called with exciting news that the house she loved was back on the market. Elisa jumped at the chance to put an offer in and it was accepted.

Moving into their new home was a very happy day for the family.

"The kids were so excited! They have their own rooms now and their own space. My kids have a backyard to play and it’s in a nice area where they can ride their bikes to the park. My favorite part of the home is that it belongs to us. There is real freedom in ownership!"

Elisa feels that she is in a very affordable situation. “I am spending less now than I was on a two bedroom rental….and we have three bedrooms, a backyard, a front yard, porch and garage. It’s amazing!”

Elisa is grateful for NCALL and her housing counselor. "My counselor was amazing. If I had a question, her response was always timely, I don’t know how she does it. I really admire her!"

"We started on this path because of NCALL."

After six years of renting an apartment in Dover, Bruce and Charlotte are thrilled to be in their new home in Smyrna, DE!

The couple, originally from New York and New Jersey, always knew that they wanted to purchase a home since moving to Delaware six years ago. They just did not know where to start. Bruce’s daughter is the one who told them about NCALL’s services and they decided to join NCALL’s Homeownership Education program.

“We attended the group class and the individual sessions. Our counselor went over our credit report and guided us on how to pay off our debts and what to pay off first. The classes are very helpful. NCALL taught us how to budget our finances and focus on our goals. They helped give us discipline regarding how, why and when to buy.”

With NCALL’s help, Bruce and Charlotte paid off their debts and saved up for a down payment.

When asked what the favorite part of their home is Charlotte replied proudly,

“The front door and everything inside it!! There is really no particular room that I like best. I just like the fact that it’s ours.”

She is also proud of the fact that that they are practically debt free, other than the mortgage.

“Everything in the home we paid for. We don’t use charge cards anymore, we plan ahead. The first month was the hardest, then it became second nature. We started on this path because of NCALL. Now, we don’t want to loose sight of our goals.”

NCALL’s 7,000th Homeowner!

For NCALL’s 7,000th homeowner, Lakeya, homeownership had always been a dream.

“I heard about NCALL from a friend, and I knew they would be able to help me.”

Lakeya had lived in her own apartment since the age of 18. She had always wanted a home of her own, but needed a bit of help realizing her dream. She attended NCALL’s Growing Your Money classes and learned a lot.

“I work in the accounting field, so I know about money management. But, NCALL helped me to be more disciplined and made me accountable for where I was spending my money. They really helped me to make more wise decisions.”

In order to save up for a down payment, Lakeya and her son moved in with relatives and she worked on paying off her debts. “The homeownership education was also important. They taught us about the process of buying a home. I didn’t know what went into it. It’s so involved!”

She now lives in her home in Smyrna and loves it.

“It’s such an accomplishment! It means so much to me. It’s a lot of responsibility, but I love that it’s mine!”

NCALL congratulates all of our 7,000 homeowners on such a great accomplishment!!

"NCALL was the best thing that ever happened to me."

Ebony never thought owning a home was within her reach. That all changed in 2006, after meeting with one of NCALL’s Housing Counselors.

After years of renting, the unit next to Ebony’s had a fire. As a result, her unit was damaged and she had to move herself and her two children back into her parent’s home. She was grateful for their assistance, but really felt like she was stuck. That is when she began meeting with NCALL.

“NCALL was the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Ebony. “I learned that needs come before wants. You have to get your priorities in order to aim for what you want in life.”

Through attendance in NCALL’s Growing Your Money classes, Ebony learned to save, pay off her debt and manage her finances. She then enrolled in the Individual Development Account program and began saving money for a downpayment on her home. She improved her employment by completing her graduate degree at Rutgers University and now has her Masters in Social Work. Her patience and perseverance really paid off. This fall she closed on a four bedroom, one and a half bath home in New Castle, Delaware and her entire family has really been loving it.

“The kids love the new house. We have so much space now! I worked so hard to get to this point; but, I can finally stand up and say I did it! It is worth all the trials and tribulations. Homeownership definitely changes everything. It’s lots of added responsibility, but it brings so much more independence.”

Ebony also has advice for all the other would-be homeowners out there,

“Everyone has big dreams, but it’s important to be realistic. Aim to be comfortable, but you have to have wiggle room in your budget. You definitely have to learn to crawl before you can walk.”

"NCALL empowers you to work hard for yourself."

Alishia's children love to climb the tree in front of their Dover home. Originally from Boston, MA, Alishia came to Delaware in 1992 to attend Delaware State University. By 1999, she had graduated, married, had one baby and was pregnant with a second when her divorce occurred. Although devastated, she was determined to take care of her family.

While getting her Masters degree and working temp jobs, she fell behind on rent and bills. She ended up homeless in 2004 and living in an emergency shelter. The Dover Housing Authority took her into their rent to own program. This is when Alishia began working with NCALL.

"Homeownership has always been my dream, but I kept hitting a wall," she said. "I had to believe it was possible for myself; I wasn't going to give up."

Alishia grew up in the inner city with a divorced mom who said she could have whatever future she wanted, but no one in her family had ever owned a home.

"I wanted to break the cycle by starting something new, giving my kids a different future. This home is the beginning of a new legacy and an inheritance for my children. Lack of information keeps people stuck. The process of buying a home is intimidating and overwhelming. NCALL takes your hand and walks you through the journey. Credit repair also takes work. NCALL empowers you to work hard for yourself."

Since moving into her home, Alishia has become a published author, started her own company, and created a support group to help empower women who are divorced or divorcing.

Financial Literacy Success Stories

"This has been a tough time for me, but my ‘NCALL counselor’ has really been a great mentor. He’s given me inspiration to move forward."

Financial literacy empowers people to take control of their finances rather than being controlled by them. NCALL’s Growing Your Money series of five financial classes accomplishes this for homeownership, foreclosure prevention, and public housing customers. NCALL’s innovative $tand By Me initiative in Kent County through the Delaware Financial Empowerment Partnership provides financial coaching opportunities at venues throughout the county. The coaching enables people to establish their goal and work towards it using resources provided through their NCALL coach.

In early October, Thomas was awakened by the sound of a fire alarm and the smell of smoke. Although he made it out of his attic apartment unhurt, he lost all of his possessions in the fire that destroyed the historic Cheswold home. When his employer, Dover Downs, discovered that he had been living in his car for a few days, they referred him to NCALL’s on-location office for financial coaching assistance.

One of NCALL’s Financial Coaches met with Thomas and provided him with a list of contacts to help with clothing and shelter. According to Thomas,

"My coach was great. He was always on point with his advice and gave me avenues to move forward."

As a prep chef at Dover Downs, Thomas had applied for assistance to Dover Downs’ Rainy Day Fund for employees experiencing hardships, but was turned down due to his short tenure with the company. His coach helped him request reconsideration due to his extenuating circumstances. Upon receipt, Dover Downs overturned their decision and approved assistance for Thomas. Thomas is using this money to start over. He put a deposit down on an apartment and is very frugal with his money.

"My dream job is to be a DJ. I was working in that field part-time before the fire, but my equipment was destroyed in the fire. So, I have to start over. This has been a tough time for me, but my NCALL coach has really been a great mentor. He’s given me inspiration to move forward. I don’t have the funds right now to replace my DJ equipment, but I haven’t given up on my dream." His next goal is to work on saving up an emergency fund.

Krysten is another happy NCALL customer. She came to us after hearing about NCALL’s services at an employee meeting. Krysten saw a medical collection on her credit report that she had not recognized, but was unsure what to do about it. NCALL ran her credit report, which was very good with the exception of three medical collections that were not hers.

"My coach told me to write letters to the reporting agencies. He told me what to write to dispute the charges. All three collections were removed and my credit rating went way up! My coach was so friendly and efficient, always answering all of my questions."

Now Krysten has other goals that she wants NCALL to help her with. She is on her way to being debt free and wants to start saving up for her life goals—a home, a new car and maybe even graduate school to get her MBA degree.

Financial Literacy Success Stories

"NCALL coaches you."

Charlotte is a single mom whose three teenagers and one grandchild live with her. As part of her year-long homeownership process, Charlotte successfully graduated from the Growing Your Money Financial Literacy classes. She purchased a single family home in Dover using the Dover First Start Grant Program in September 2007.

Prior to owning a home and due to credit issues, she lived with family and then rented an apartment. Through Growing Your Money, she cleared up her credit and learned budgeting skills that she now passes along to all of her friends! She was a little afraid to think about maintaining a home with all of the news of the foreclosure problem, but developed the confidence to believe that her new skills would see her through.

"NCALL coaches you. No one tells you what to do, but you're given honest answers and choices about what to do about your situation."

Charlotte enjoys the privacy of being in her own home and the safety of having her own driveway for her and her kids, as opposed to coming in at night from a parking lot. And her teenagers certainly enjoy their own rooms!