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September 2017

Thousands of Homeowners Use HLP’s HomeownerConnect.org to Record Hurricane Damage Website Connects Distressed Homeowners with Mortgage Companies

Hurricane Stories Read the real-life stories of homeowners impacted by recent hurricanes

Since the onset of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, more than 4,000 homeowners have responded for help by logging onto HLP’s HomeownerConnect.org website to inform their mortgage servicers about their need for disaster assistance. These homeowners have their mortgage loans with 15 different servicers.

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HLP created a new case type on its communications platform shortly after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas in late August, and homeowners and others have discovered the site to be a quick and easy way to record their flood damage. Once a homeowner provides information on the Disaster Assistance form on HomeownerConnect.org, HLP forwards this information to their mortgage servicer.

Breaking Records

Mortgage servicers also believe the site will help its customers that have suffered property damage and need assistance. US Bank has directed all of its mortgage customers to the HomeownerConnect.org website.

HLP created a new case type shortly after Hurricane Harvey made landfall and homeowners have quickly discovered the usefullness of the site Page 1

A Familiar Face Larry Gilmore rejoins HLP as our newest Board member Page 5

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Relaunch of Homeowner Connect Slated for October 2nd HLP has re-launched HomeownerConnect.org, transforming its direct consumer portal into a national, neutral utility and resource for consumers. The site will also be an additional channel for servicers to support their borrowers. Homeowner Connect has been used most recently to aid homeowners and servicers affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. HomeownerConnect.org has several new features, including live chat and telephone support by HUD-certified nonprofit housing counselors. This feature will provide consumers with on-demand help while they are on the website, helping them answer questions to complete any forms. Housing counselors for Springboard, one of the nation’s …continued on page 4


The devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is still unimaginable to most Americans. Many homeowners that have suffered significant property damage have used HLP’s HomeownerConnect.org website to let their servicers know they need assistance. Following, in their own words, are some of the more than 4,000 stories we’ve received in the past three weeks.

What was it like to live through the storm?

“Hurricane Harvey trapped my family in our home for more than a week. We are struggling financially since I work on a contract basis and lost my contract. My wife works in the service industry and was unable to meet with clients." — Joseph C., Richmond, Texas

"We were flooded by Hurricane Harvey. Our house was flooded with 39 inches of water and we had to be rescued by airboat. The house is uninhabitable and we lost virtually everything we own. We also lost both vehicles. We will have trouble making payments while finding another place to live and replacing essentials to day-to-day living." — Del S., Sour Lake, Texas

"I’m unable to live in my home due to Hurricane Harvey. There was major flood damage, with four feet of water making carpeting and furniture a total loss. There was also wind damage to the roof and fence, though I’ve filed a claim with my homeowner’s insurance on these items. No assistance for flood damage as of yet; I’ve not been seen by FEMA. I have to spend some money normally budgeted for my mortgage to live as house is not livable at this time." — Sara N., League City, Texas

How has this impacted your ability to pay your mortgage? "We live in Jacksonville, Florida, and just went through Hurricane Irma. There was significant flooding and it closed my work building for an undetermined amount of time. We also

sustained some roof damage from the storm. We are not sure of the total financial impact yet, but want to see if there are any payment options or extensions that we can qualify for to assist (short term) and make sure we stay current with our payments.” —Dan T., Orange Park, Florida

"I work on tug boats. The boat I work on sank during Hurricane Harvey I have not worked since. I was trying to get my payment suspended for 90 days until I can get back to work and get my finances back in order.” —Kelvin H., Hemphill, Texas

"We have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and need help with our mortgage payment. My husband and I missed work and also had additional expenses with immediate family staying in our home. We are currently living in our home. There is a roof leak that has caused damage in our pantry and kitchen area. We do not have an estimate of the repair cost at this time but it will be difficult to pay a deductible and the mortgage payment and we are unsure if our employer will pay us for the days missed.” —Alexis, T., Alvin, Texas …continued on next page


What changes have there been to your daily life?

"My home was flooded from Hurricane Harvey, so I needed to move to an apartment. Ten inches of water in the home destroyed walls, flooring, cabinetry, doors, furniture and appliances. I am currently paying for a condo to reside in and attending to my flooded home (time away from work and money spent) which are impacting my ability to pay my mortgage.” —Jennifer C., Houston, Texas

"Hurricane Harvey has kept our family from being able to work and provide the income needed to make payments at this time. We are all getting back to work as things are starting to return to some normalcy, but would like to apply for 90 day suspension of our payments. Without assistance, we will likely have to miss or make late payments.” —Kalie M., Humble, Texas

"After Hurricane Irma, I am still in my home, but there’s been an impact on my income. I do not have the money to make a payment and make a $1000 deductible for insurance claim. I have wind damage for now, two fences down, tree limbs down, water damage underneath back porch, flood water on the whole street, cannot get in or out until water goes down. I have been out of work since June and just went back to work in August.” —Carmalita M., Jacksonville, Florida

and hope to return in a couple of days, as soon as power is restored. We were informed that our home looks OK from the street, just some fencing down, but when we can get inside, we will determine if there was flooding." — Alice R., Dade City, Florida

"There was a mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Irma and I had traveled to Massachusetts to get a room. When I returned home, my house had been broken into (but it's still livable once I get it temporarily boarded up because the assessor won't be able to get to me for a little while). Someone smashed my back window and my sliding glass door to my kitchen. I filed a police report and a claim with my insurance company. I am working as a contractor and will not be paid for my missed time at work, so I have incurred a significant loss in wages between time taken from work and all the costs that were incurred to evacuate, and I will not be able to make my mortgage payments in the foreseeable future." — Patricia D., St. Petersburg, Florida

What financial challenges are you facing?

"After Hurricane Harvey hit our area my husband’s job site has been slow. He does refinery work and they have had major damage. As result I am seeking loan options for a lower interest rate if possible.” — Claudia C., Kingsville, Texas

 hat was it like to evacuate and W then return home?

“My husband and I had to evacuate due to Hurricane Irma. This has caused us to leave our home and our companies to close. I know my house has some water damage, but I don’t know the extent of it. Because of our jobs closing until next week, we have lost 2 weeks of wages and can’t pay our bills! Please help." — Katrina J., Port Orange, Florida

"We evacuated from Hurricane Irma and did not have any money available for this expense other than our mortgage money. We will need time to recover from the financial loss and get back on track financially. We went to Tennessee

"I have been in my home for just over 90 days. My subdivision in Cypress, Texas, sustained massive flooding with over 40 inches of rain during August 26-27. The residence also sustained flood damage, but is still livable. I am not in a flood zone and do not have flood insurance as it was not required upon home purchase. Due to flood levels, I was unable to return to both my primary and secondary means of income.” — Christopher B., Cypress, Texas

"Hurricane Irma has closed schools for nearly a week so far. Since I drive a school bus for living, I can’t work those days. I have had some damage to my shed where a tree limb fell through it and it also damaged the wood on my house near the roof. Without power, I have lost a significant amount of groceries. And I do not get food from any other source.” — Tonya L., Jacksonville, Florida


…HomeownerConnect relaunch–continued from page 1

largest nonprofit counseling agencies, will begin providing live chat services starting on October 1.

plementation after the two major hurricanes—we’re off to a good start.”

With new graphics and more advanced, self-help capabilities, the new site will aid consumers and servicers more quickly than in the past.

The re-launch follows several months of planning and development where HLP sought insight and ideas from several mortgage servicers and counseling agencies. Other ideas, such as capturing and uploading documents by mobile device, will be incorporated during phase two.

“The goal of HomeownerConnect 2.0 is to improve pullthrough rates and produce faster, better outcomes on loss mitigation cases,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s chief executive officer. “We want to reduce servicing costs, improve cycle times and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. “Based on our initial experience—the response we’ve received from homeowners and servicers following im-

HOME

ABOUT

HLP is seeking servicers interested in promoting use of HomeownerConnect. org with their borrowers. To receive a HomeownerConnect demo, servicers, HUD-approved counseling organizations and others can contact Mark Cole at Mark.Cole@hlp.org or 678-592-8342.

BENEFITS

HOW IT WORKS

FAQ

CONTACT

GET STARTED

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START SAVING YOUR HOME You can use Homeowner Connect to submit information and documents directly to your servicer. Need a little help? No worries! There are nonprofit housing counselors standing by to help you.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

CLICK HERE TO LOGIN

WE ARE HERE EMPOWER YOU HOC connects you directly to your servicer. there’s no need to sort through a confusing automated system.

With bold new graphics and more advanced, self-help capabilities, the new Homeowner Connect site will help HLP aid consumers and servicers more quickly than in the past.


Homeowners Recod Damage–continued from page 1

“Our communications platform is a quick and easy way for homeowners to create a permanent record of having notified their servicer, share updated contact information and explain how the property and their ability to make mortgage payments has been impacted,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s chief executive officer. “This peace of mind allows the homeowner to start focusing on recovering and rebuilding from these disasters.” Homeowners are not required to provide mortgage loan information or other documents to register. A homeowner only needs to provide their name, property address, contact information and a brief description of their property damage. They also need to provide the name of their mortgage servicer. Once they hit “Submit” on the form, HLP will have a record and send it along to their servicer.

Once a servicer has reviewed the homeowner’s submission, they may request additional information or documents in order to suspend mortgage payments or provide other assistance. Homeowners can upload those documents via HomeownerConnect.org or HLP.org. By registering on HomeownerConnect.org, people nationwide will be able to establish a permanent record with their mortgage company about their property damage. Nineteen of the 20 largest US mortgage servicers use HLP’s communications platform to exchange information about homeowners in distress and can access information filed there. Homeowners affected by the devastating hurricane may be able to suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months, or take advantage of others relief offers from their mortgage servicer. Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have announced various efforts to help homeowners.

Larry Gilmore Elected to HLP Board of Directors Larry Gilmore will join HLP’s board of directors following his election earlier this month. Gilmore is Vice President of National Community Lending for HSBC, where he manages the company’s strategy and direct lending activities to organically originate mortgage loans to underserved communities throughout the US. He has held this position since July 2015. Gilmore has a long history working in the housing and finance industries with an emphasis in serving underserved communities. He previously served as president and chief executive officer of HOPE LoanPort from September 2009 until August 2011, as well as president and chief executive officer of the Student Loan Alliance from February 2012 through February 2014. “Larry will make an immediate contribution to the board,” said Faith Schwartz, HLP’s board chair. “He will be effective in bringing new opportunities to the organization and offering a lender viewpoint on some key aspects of consumer lending and support.”

mark.cole@hlp.org

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HLP News — September 2017  
HLP News — September 2017  

News and updates from HLP. In this issue we tell the stories of homeowners that have suffered significant property damage from Hurricanes Ha...