My name is Katelyn Hoeksema and I am an AmeriCorps member at Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency. Our agency covers a 10 county region in Northwest Lower Michigan. I travel between our two offices in Traverse City and Petoskey in order to reach all the clients we have.
Northwest Lower Michigan has been hit very hard by the foreclosure crisis and resources are scarce. Many of the resources available in one county are not available in the county next to it.
When I entered into my service year, I did not know anything about foreclosure. I have never owned a home and had only rented. I went in blind. About three months into my service year, my brother had his house sold in a sheriff sale. I knew I couldn’t help him save his home at that point, but I was able to give him information on how things would proceed from that point.
In February, my sister came to me and asked if there were any foreclosure prevention programs that she could get assistance through since she was on unemployment. I knew of Michigan’s Step Forward Program and knew that she could apply for unemployment subsidy and most likely receive it. Approximately a month later, she had received the subsidy and is now current on her mortgage.
In March my parents came to me asking if I knew anything about a deed-in lieu. They told me that they wanted to be free of the second home they owned and was rented out. I told them I could help them by directing them to the person they needed to talk to. Currently my parents are working on the final steps to achieve the deed-in-lieu.
In the beginning of my service year, I thought that I could help people who are in the foreclosure crisis. I never knew it would hit so close to home. The information that I have learned in my service year is worth all the time and effort I have put into this position.
Katelyn Hoeksema is an AmeriCorps member at the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency in Traverse City
This post is part of a blog series highlighting the viewpoints of Michigan AmeriCorps Foreclosure Prevention Corps members serving at different foreclosure host sites around Michigan. View information about the program or see more stories in this series.