How Is This Happening In America?

Real Estate Agent with

As I sit here I am stunned. Earlier I received the following email message

I know my previous message got lost  but maybe this one won't. We have been trying to help the following situation: 

  • Lawerence and his wife are elderly, blind and have limited means
  • Together they make $11,000 plus food stamps
  • They currently live in Government Funded Apartments that are in horrible condition
  • Lease ends June 30th and no leases will be renewed
  • They have no family and rely on each other

Lawerence and his wife are looking to purchase a small home to spend the later years of their life together in safety and peace.  No one person seems to be able to explain how to help them.  It seems this couple do not make enough to qualify for low income programs and they have $300 a month for mortgage with no reserves.

 Our office has contacted the following resources and we have gotten no where: 

My question to Active Rain is have you experienced this before?  Are there any resources that we have left out at the Federal Level?  Does anyone in Texas know of a program that could benefit this couple?

It's quite possible that there is nothing we can do to help these people but I don't want to leave any stone unturned.



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Stephanie Edwards-Musa - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP
Thanks Stefan, I think one of the links left was for Rural Development.
May 12, 2007 03:04 PM #29
Colleen Kulikowski
The Griffin Team @ Keller Williams Realty - Buffalo, NY
Creative Real Estate Solutions...

Stephanie -- You are most welcome!   Great response!   I hope that it helps you!

Sally -- I wanted to feature it so badly earlier today but could not.  It was hard to read and Stephanie and I edited the piece to where it is now--it took us over an hour to get it right.  It just goes to show you that it is not necessarily what you write but how you write it out.   Thanks for suggesting that this get featured! 

May 12, 2007 03:05 PM #30
Julie Chapman
DR Horton - Lakeland, FL
New Homes Sales Lakeland Florida

Our rural housing authority (don't know if federal or state funded) subsidizes your payments - you pay what you can afford - it that is $100 a month, then that is what you pay - but it must be a rural area - I have to get maps to see where in our county the homes can be.  I believe they are referenced as USDA loans - but I will have someone on my staff forward a phone number for you for Millicent Thomas of Totally Free - who runs a non-profits just for this reason.  She helps buyers with poor credit bring up their scores until they can buy and show what there is available in government or other subsidized loans - rate as low as 1% interest, etc.  Maybe she can put you in touch with somewhere there that does what she does here or is she can help in another state. 

I speak to her home buyers and sponsor their seminars- (they are required to attend an educational seminar on home-buying) so myself and my staff often pick up these buyers .  I sell multi million dollar residential and commercial development sales that leave you with nothing in comparison to going to closing with these buyers. 

Millicent keeps photos on her walls of the buyers in front of their new homes...... I hope we can find these people what they need.


May 12, 2007 03:06 PM #31
Stephanie Edwards-Musa - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP
Colleen, read Laurie's comment. Sounds like a neat idea. "Realtors combining nationwide"
May 12, 2007 03:06 PM #32
Stephanie Edwards-Musa - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP
Thanks for your help Julie!
May 12, 2007 03:08 PM #33
Robert Kerr
Kerr Financial - Warwick, RI

I'm sitting here shaking my head in disbelief. Not at the elderly couple's plight but the responses that are suggesting they buy a house on $11K + food stamps.

May 12, 2007 04:13 PM #34
Stephanie Edwards-Musa - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP
Hi Robert, I don't really know how to respond.  I just hope to be able to help these people.  Their apartment is in horrible shape and they are not allowing any renewed leases because the complex has been fined so many times.  I think it's sad to see this happen to people. 
May 12, 2007 04:16 PM #35
Eric Bouler
Gardner Realtors, Licensed in La. - New Orleans, LA
Listening to your Needs
We have 10,000 people like that in town or more. They have to learn to work the system better. The system is broken for people like that. The amount of resources that the country spends to help people would blow your mind away. The results are not satisfactory. I say this as I live in a town full of poverty and it never improves.It just gets worse. I wish you luck
May 12, 2007 04:48 PM #36
Bob Force (REALTOR®)
Weichert Realtor - New Colony - Mount Airy, MD
The FORCE in Maryland Real Estate


I, like Robert Kerr, am not beleiving the idea/suggestion they buy a home. 

Yes, this is a troubling situation; but BUY IS NOT THE ANSWER. 

My question is WHO is not renewing the lease? Are they (Lawrence and his wife) currently on an assistance program? and if so why are they not helping? Have you checked with any association for the blind in the area and publicity they cna bring to bear.

You talk of looking for any Fedreal programs, what about a local county program?  Montgomery County Md has an assistance program - HOC - Housing Opportunity Commission.

I also share the thoughts that the news medium needs to be informed of the situation.


May 12, 2007 04:53 PM #37
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

I'm sorry to hear about this couples situation. There should be local and state programs to help these people.

In NYC and NY State we have The Department for the Aging which has many programs to prevent homelessness for low income and or disabled senior citizens.

May 13, 2007 02:40 AM #38
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

I've heard that certain states are doing pilot programs with Section 8 that isn't just for renters.  I'd call your local housing authority and ask them.


Bob Mitchell


May 13, 2007 03:43 AM #39
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
I don't even know what to say. It's horrible that people can live in such a situation.
May 13, 2007 03:51 AM #40
Stephanie Edwards-Musa - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP

Hi Eric, it's so sad.  I just wish I could solve all of the problems myself. 

Hi Robert. I understand what you are saying.  The owner of the property is not renewing the leases.  They have been fined numerous times and have not made any repairs. Basically it sounds like the units are being condemned and forced to shut down.  Thanks for the advice.

HI Mitchell, Dept. of Aging. Haven't heard of it but definitely worth looking into. Thanks!

Hi Bob, We looked into the Sec. 8 loan to purchase and couldn't get anywhere with it.  Seems to be a shut door everywhere we go.

Hi Christy, This story just broke my heart.  I noticed you read the first one I did with more details-it's just a shame. 

May 13, 2007 04:34 AM #41
Jeannette Morrison
Cedar Park,Leander,Georgetown & Lake Travis Areas. - Cedar Park, TX
Central Texas Real Estate, NW Austin, Round Rock

Hello Stephanie,

As I sat here and read this post, I too had tears in my eyes.  I have never come across this situation, but I have thought about it!  It is so heart breaking to be in a situation like you are in and feel helpless!  I hope I can learn from all of you -the right things we as REALTORs can do to help our clients who find themselves in this situation!  Please keep us all informed on the situation.


May 13, 2007 11:17 AM #42
Stephanie Edwards-Musa - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP
Hi Jeannette, first thing in the morning I'll be on the phone with Corporate about all of the lovely suggestions here.  I will keep all of you posted. Thaks for stopping by.
May 13, 2007 12:24 PM #43
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645
I am not sure how much homes are running in your community.  They could not come close to making the mortgage here in Hawaii in even the cheapest condo.  That sounds like a real tough situation.
May 13, 2007 06:14 PM #44
Laura Warden Nordin
Century 21 Camco Realty - Albuquerque, NM
30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate

I can't believe Habitat for Humanity has been no help. It sounds like it should be right up their alley.

May 14, 2007 01:49 PM #45
Stephanie Edwards-Musa - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP

Hi Laura, We were working on this all day today.  Still nothing.  We are seeing if the parent company of Lending Tree can help.  All of the gov. org's. need atleast 3 months for just a response. But these people will be homelss in 44 days. 

We are still working on it though. Thanks for stopping by.

May 14, 2007 01:52 PM #46
Marty Van Diest
Valley Market Real Estate - Wasilla, AK
Your Alaskan Realtor

It sounds like they need some type of temporary housing while they work on getting into long term housing.  Either through a lease, rent, or buy.

If you go the route to buy I was educated by some clients recently that you can combine a rural development loan with section  8 housing assistance.  My people were able to work out what I believe is a 1% RD loan along with a section 8 grant so that a good sized portion of their mortgage which is at only 1% is paid through a section 8 grant.  It's complicated and time consuming and uses completely different channels but it works.  You don't talk to any private mortgage people for this loan.  Talk directly to your rural development contacts and to the section 8 people.  

May 27, 2007 04:31 AM #47
Stephanie Edwards-Musa - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP
Thanks Marty!
May 27, 2007 04:34 AM #48
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