San Francisco couple can enjoy their dream home and give back to their community with help from Keep Your Home California and BALANCE
Homeowners Charles and Kathleen C. are always glad to share their love story, not only for each other, but also for their church, their family and friends, their neighborhood, – and their dream home.
Their house has scenic views of the San Francisco Bay, downtown, Mt. Diablo, and nautical activity on the Bay, along with views of the East Bay Shoreline and Hills. Their home is within walking distance of Candlestick State Park.
“It’s a perfect, medium-size house for us, with wonderful neighbors,” says Kathleen, as the couple takes turns talking.
“Our house is truly blessed,” Charles says. “We invited our church family, relatives and friends, along with several ministers to bless our home and enjoy a house warming after moving in several years ago in 1998. It was a great celebration, with all the folks we dearly love!”
“It certainly was a beautiful day,” chimes in Kathleen, who met her husband-to-be during a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at the Civic Center in San Francisco in 1989. They were married three years later, and bought the house, which they had to bid for, in 1997.
San Francisco has become their much-beloved adopted city, and their true home.
Charles grew up in Arkansas and enlisted in the Navy, and was later stationed on Treasure Island in November, 1959. Kathleen was raised in Portland, Ore., and happily moved to the City by the Bay, after they were married.
“I fell in love with San Francisco,” says Charles, a retired X-Ray Technician. “I found out there was no snow in San Francisco, and have been here ever since.”
They were welcomed by a lot of warmth from church members, family, friends, and neighbors.
“Our neighbors are from all walks of life,” says Kathleen, a reading literacy tutor at a nearby elementary school, and an AmeriCorps National Service Volunteer.
Their house is definitely a home, filled with many memories.
“I’m thankful for all of the blessings of the home,” Kathleen says. “It’s a place of tranquility, a place to rest and center your thoughts, a place to relax and enjoy. It often reminds me of a mountain retreat, surrounded by greenery and quietude. Our hobbies include gardening and walking.”
Of course, that’s when the couple gets the chance to relax. They are active in their community, from their church to their neighborhood association, and have hosted numerous community meetings in passed years.
“We’ve been actively involved with the beautification of our community,” says Charles, noting they have planted flowers and trees in the area.
Since 1998, the BayHill Neighborhood Association Members and District 10 Supervisors have been instrumental with the improvement and beautification of the neighborhood, which includes a median with palm trees, native California Plants, and other greenery, along with a viewing platform. The median will eventually extend from their neighborhood to the former site of Candlestick Park, where the San Francisco 49ers and Giants played their home games for decades. Presently, the site is being reconstructed for commercial use, which will include housing, a hotel, a theater, and retail stores.
But the couple who invested so much in their neighborhood – and their overall community – were recently faced with the financial challenge of a hard-to-pay mortgage, Without some kind of financial relief, they were looking at the possibility of being forced to sell their home.
So, Charles and Kathleen, both retirees, applied for a loan modification through their mortgage servicer with no luck. Their servicer turned them down for modification three times. They refused to give up, though, in their desperate search for help. Finally, they were advised to connect with HOPE Now, which referred them to BALANCE, formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Services of San Francisco.
“We quickly gathered all of the information needed,” Kathleen says of the documents and paperwork required to apply for Keep Your Home California Assistance. “Fortunately, Our KYHC Processor was constantly in communication with us, regarding status reports, and additional documentation needs. They were extremely helpful.”
The BALANCE housing counselor assisted the homeowners with their initial application for Keep Your Home California’s Principal Reduction Program, which offers as much as $100,000 in principal reduction and often lowers the monthly payment. BALANCE has specially trained housing counselors and a dedicated phone line for homeowners applying for Keep Your Home California, says Stephanie Price, housing programs manager for BALANCE.
“Our counselors can walk people through the program, even over the phone,” says Price, who adds that housing counselors can help homeowners with Keep Your Home California and other government-assistance programs, including some designed just for San Francisco residents. “We have quite a bit of experience.”
BALANCE also has a lot of success. Just ask Charles and Kathleen.
“We were so elated, I was simply overjoyed,” Kathleen says of when they were notified via email that they were approved for the Program in January, 2016. “I raced into the living room to tell my husband. We just hugged and danced around the room, with tears of joy in our eyes.”
Keep Your Home California’s Principal Reduction Program saved the couple about $300 per month in mortgage payments. The recasting of their mortgage payment, allowed them to stay in their home.
“It’s like a weight taken off our shoulders!” Charles says. “Although we still have some financial restructuring to complete, Keep Your Home California has been a tremendous help, and BALANCE continues to help us with budget re-structure.”
“We appreciate Keep Your Home California’s assistance with the Principal Reduction of our mortgage,” Kathleen says. “It has given us renewed hope.”