State program helps homeowners ‘burn’ through their mortgages

Mortgage assistance

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Four Valley families have a major burden lifted off their shoulders – their mortgages are paid off.

All the families live in Habitat of Humanity homes. Some made the payments ahead of schedule and also benefited from mortgage assistance.

The groundbreaking of Kim Harris’ east side home was in October 2000. Now, she reminisces over pictures of the construction.

“It is just a joy to be able to have my family and friends to come over and spend some time in something that is my own,” Harris said.

Harris’ home is paid off and she did it ahead of time with the help of the Ohio Save the Dream Program and Hardest Hit Fund.

Monica Craven with Habitat for Humanity said the program was set up during the burst of the housing bubble.

“We had several families that had been struggling with downturns in the economy. It was able to help with their mortgage payment,” Craven said.

For some, the program paid the mortgage for up to 18 months. Others received rescue assistance to help get caught up on payments.

For Harris, it was a big step in becoming debt free and saving money. And she is not alone. Alanne Newell and her daughter Nyasia Barnes took advantage of the program, too. Both stood together as they tossed their mortgage papers in the fire.

“I know my mom worked so hard on it, and I know that the only reason she made all this possible so we can have a place to live and that we can all be happy in one single house that we all love,” Barnes said.

Both women encourage others to see what programs are out there, saying it doesn’t hurt to know your options.

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