September 9, 2014

Weatherization Services Available

“Everyone that I encountered in this program was very respectful
 of my time and property. This program was awesome 
and I would recommend it to anyone in need of help.”

“I would like to thank the whole crew who has worked 
on our house weatherizing.  Every man did an excellent job. 
Thank you all.”

These are just a couple of the nice comments that we received this year from our Weatherization Assistance Program customers. For several years, NHS of South Buffalo has been hard at work weatherizing thousands of homes in the Buffalo area. In fact, two years ago, we were one of the most productive agencies in the country in doing so! (Thanks to ARRA.) The Weatherization Assistance Program is now partnered with NYSERDA’s EmPower program to provide Buffalo residents with the best service we can provide.  

The Weatherization program features an experienced team of staff members who conduct an energy audit and weatherize your home, including weather-stripping and caulking of doors and windows; cleaning, testing, and repairs of heating systems; adding insulation to walls and ceilings; and minor repairs as needed. After weatherization, another inspection will follow to check quality and effectiveness. 

Most of the homes in Buffalo are poorly insulated, and sealing them up can save homeowners hundreds of dollars on their utilities by making sure it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Few people realize that the Weatherization Assistance Program can help both homeowners and renters!

To see a heating assessment video we invite you to visit our YouTube channel. You can also find more information on our website, as well as our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts for all the latest in news and events!

April 2, 2014

April is Financial Literacy Month

It only takes a glance at the papers, news stations or internet to know that every day debt is increasing; upcoming generations will have a harder time with financial stability than their parents. Since 2004, the United States has recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month. (For our Canadian followers, November is yours.)

Financial Literacy sounds like one of those fancy terms made up by someone wanting to sound smarter and better than others, but it's really about making sure you’re financially stable and healthy. It’s important to take regular check of your credit reports and your financial accounts, and there are free online services for budgeting that are safe. They will send you alerts and reminders for each of your accounts and will help you with all kinds of financial planning and record keeping.

It is also important to teach children about the proper handling of money, from their allowances to credit cards and student loans. We need to teach them to save, no matter what, and we need to take our own advice!

On Saturday, June 7th, NHS of South Buffalo will be hosting the first Family Fitness Fun Club at Dog Ears Bookstore and Café. Come join us, Grassroots Garden and more, for lunch and information about physical and financial fitness for the entire family! Registration is just $5/person and includes LUNCH, PIGGY BANKS, VEGETABLE SEEDS, BOOKS and more! Call 823.3630 to preregister.

March 13, 2014

If you're worried about foreclosure, you're not alone!

A recent email from a satisfied resident who received assistance with her foreclosure by getting a loan modification got us thinking that we should rerun our blog from a year ago. We've updated it with recent information. We hope you find it helpful:
As anyone who has watched the news or picked up a newspaper in the last few years can tell you, foreclosure is a major problem facing homeowners in this country currently and it continues to be a problem in Buffalo. Foreclosure is a specific legal process in which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments to the lender by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan.

The foreclosure process as applied to residential mortgage loans is a bank or other secured creditor selling or repossessing a parcel of real property (immovable property) after the owner has failed to comply with an agreement between the lender and borrower called a "mortgage" or "deed of trust." Commonly, the violation of the mortgage is a default in payment of a promissory note, secured by a lien on the property (Wikipedia).

Basically, there are two major types of foreclosures – foreclosure by judicial sale and foreclosure by power of sale or non-judicial foreclosure. (There are other minor types, but they are in such limited availability as to make them useless.) Judicial foreclosure involves the sale of the mortgaged property under the supervision of a court, with the proceeds going first to satisfy the mortgage; then other lien holders; and, finally, the mortgagor/borrower if any proceeds are left. Non-judicial foreclosure is authorized by many states if a power of sale clause is included in the mortgage or if a deed of trust with such a clause was used, instead of an actual mortgage.

So what should you do if you are being foreclosed on? First and foremost, you need to seek out help. You cannot go through this process alone. There are many nonprofit agencies that can help you. NHS of South Buffalo has a Housing and Loan Specialist on staff. In order to be eligible for foreclosure counseling, you must attend the foreclosure orientation or The Truth About Foreclosure workshop. The next workshop is this Wednesday, March 19th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at our office at 1937 South Park Avenue. (Please call 823.3630 to preregister.)

We keep our Twitter and Facebook updated with the most recent upcoming workshops, so don’t hesitate to check or call us at 823-3630.

Next, you must get organized. Gather things like the following to make it easier to get assistance.

  • Any and all communications from your lender
  • Foreclosure notices and/or court or sheriff's sale complaints
  • Your two most recent mortgage statements
  • Your homeowner's insurance policy if your pay this directly
  • Last two months pay-stubs
  • Two most recent tax returns for everyone listed on the mortgage
  • All bank account statements for the previous two 2 months
  • Proof of any other income (child support, alimony, SSI, disability, rental income, etc.) (ABC News)

The foreclosure process at NHS of South Buffalo begins when a resident contacts us. They are then scheduled for a foreclosure orientation workshop, and the information package is sent to them via email or the post office. Afterwards, they are scheduled for an appointment approximately seven to ten days after the workshop to bring their documents and sign the paperwork to apply for a loan modification. The paperwork is scanned to the client file and a HAMP package is sent to the lender for consideration. After that, it can take up to 30 days for a decision of yes to the modification or that more information is requested by the lender and/or investor. The length of time to get a modification can vary greatly from 30 days to longer.

Do not fall for scams that say they’re going to help you. Look at registered nonprofits that deal with housing. Most importantly, you do not need to feel shame over this. It is a stressful situation but not one that is completely lost. There are people and organizations out there that can help you. Please do not be afraid to reach out.

January 28, 2014

Weatherization Assistance Critical in Buffalo Weather

For several years, NHS of South Buffalo has been hard at work weatherizing thousands of homes in the Buffalo area. In the last couple of years, we’ve been one of the most productive agencies in the country in doing so. So with that in mind, we want to keep making the homes of our service area safe, warm and energy efficient!

December 9, 2013

Green Gifts, Part 2

If you are struggling with what to get someone for a holiday gift, whether you don’t know them very well, you want to be out of the box, or you need an extra stocking stuffer, it can be frustrating! Luckily, we’ve put together a two-part blog on some great green and energy-saving gifts! Last week, we posted part one of our series here. Read on for part two below!