Home Sweet Home: GreenPath Rental Counseling Success Stories
- August 12, 2021
- By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
Our homes are central to our overall safety and wellness, but sometimes the unexpected happens.
Financial hardships might lead to falling behind on monthly rent payments. And as much as we treasure our “home sweet home” it can be confusing to understand available options as eviction protections end.
Even with the uncertainties related to extensions of COVID-era relief, it’s important to remember that rental protections offer temporary relief and do not provide forgiveness. Once programs expire and assistance ends, if an initial COVID-related hardship is not resolved or if your income hasn’t recovered, you may face stress and uncertainty when it comes to staying in your home.
Renters facing financial challenges reduce stress when they fully understand their options.
GreenPath HUD-certified housing counselors help people assess their financial picture and create an action plan to address each person’s specific situation.
As people move past the recent challenges of the pandemic, noted below are two recent “Home Sweet Home” rental counseling success stories.
Back on Track
Susan experienced a long-term pay cut as a result of COVID-19. This unexpected income loss made it more difficult for Susan and her family to meet already challenging financial obligations each month. Well before the pandemic crisis, Susan’s household had trouble keeping current with monthly bills and as a result were relying on credit cards heavily for essentials like food and medicines. With the monthly income loss, making rent payments was in jeopardy and causing the household undue stress. Susan felt she had to choose between making payments on her credit cards and making rent payments. Compounding the situation was in a rent-to-own arrangement with housing, so the priority was to keep those monthly housing payments up to support their long-term financial goals and dreams.
Services Provided to Susan:
Susan sought assistance from GreenPath to ensure her household would keep current with rent payments, and manage monthly expenses including excessive credit card debt incurred to help offset income losses. A customized debt management plan helped Susan manage the increased credit card debt. A GreenPath housing counselor looked at the entire financial picture to develop an actionable budget so she could handle not only the debt payments, but also monthly housing costs for the rent-to-own obligations. Through GreenPath’s guidance, the debt management program helped Susan reduce monthly credit card payments to make them more affordable while keeping current with monthly rent-to-own payments. .
GreenPath’s services helped Susan stay housed because she knew the exact steps to take to balance all her monthly financial obligations, even with the income loss caused because of the pandemic. GreenPath’s Debt Management Plan made it possible to lower Susan’s monthly credit card payments and interest, which gave her the needed funds to balance her budget, pay her rent on time and get out of debt several years ahead of schedule – even with the income loss.
Susan’s Life Now:
Susan got the advice and an action plan she needed to get on track to pay off debt, keep current with housing costs, and build a healthy financial life. She is under less stress with GreenPath’s debt management services, which lets her pay debt off faster, save money on fees and interest, and make progress toward financial goals such as keeping current with her rent-to-own home loan.
Rebuilding a Dream
Trey had a dream – to purchase the home he was renting, but the COVID crisis nearly derailed his dreams. Last year, his employer moved him from full-time status to part-time due to the economic fall-out of the crisis in the company’s industry. Having only half the income he once had, Trey quickly fell behind on key expenses including rent and other housing costs. He felt he was losing sight of one of his key goals – saving for a down payment to purchase the home he was currently renting. His monthly budget had him worried he could no longer meet savings goals, or keep current on credit card payments. In all, his concerns were mounting right along with monthly expenses.
Services Provided to Trey:
GreenPath offered customized financial counseling including rental counseling that worked to keep Trey housed as he worked through the income loss. The counselor focused on Trey’s specific situation of an income loss, and challenges with budgeting and money management. Every person’s financial picture is unique, so the counseling services helped Trey prioritize expenses within the limits of his reduced income. GreenPath also helped Trey plan to not only stay current with rent, but maintain a savings plan to help with her goal of eventually purchasing his home.
After GreenPath provided Trey with a thorough financial/rental counseling session, they followed up to help him set and meet small, achievable financial goals that moved him to a more secure footing. Trey was provided the opportunity to review his credit report and address debt and credit questions with a certified counselor. They worked together to set up a plan to meet all the past due rent payments, and establish timely communication with the landlord. Trey was also provided with GreenPath’s rental resource guide that gives a comprehensive approach to renters challenged by sudden income loss.
Trey’s Life Now:
The counseling and rental resources provided by GreenPath give Trey a new sense of optimism. He is relieved to have received a full budget analysis to identify actionable steps to improve his situation. Getting this practical support helped him get current with rent. Trey is also more hopeful about meeting the long-term goal of eventually purchasing his home, as well as addressing any issues with credit history in advance of reaching out to mortgage lenders. All told, Trey is now in a better position to make these dreams possible.
Success is Possible
Even as rental protections end, success is possible. These two success stories illustrate the benefits of counseling that address a household’s entire financial situation.
In these examples and hundreds of others, people can understand the importance of paying for essentials, understanding debt repayment options, and balancing housing costs with credit card debt, student loans and unanticipated hardships.
People don’t have to face this time of challenge alone. It all starts with a conversation.