My name is Danielle Harvey, and I am an AmeriCorps member serving at Community Housing Network in Troy as a Foreclosure Prevention Intake Specialist. I receive calls from clients who need help with delinquent property taxes and/or mortgage payments. I point eligible clients to the Step Forward Michigan Program, and help them keep their homes. I enjoy every single minute of being an AmeriCorps member, I wish I could have been involved in AmeriCorps even sooner than my start date 3 months ago!
The Step Forward Michigan Program assists homeowners with their delinquent property taxes and/or mortgage payments. Before starting my service term, I had no idea that a program like Step Forward even existed. The Step Forward Michigan Program is one of those programs that should be around for everyone to give monetary relief for those in need of help. It saddens me not to able to send clients to Step Forward Michigan and give them relief of stress about losing their home.
So far being an AmeriCorps member has taught me to be stronger and to keep striving for greatness. I assumed that only low income people would need assistance from Step Forward but I have spoken with people from a wide variety of income brackets. A lot of these clients have run into hard times: one small change in their income or misstep in their plan causes their whole world to unfold. For example, a divorce or a spouse who has been diagnosed with cancer can be an unforeseen financial stress, or for seniors their income becoming social security can be an issue. As an intake specialist I answer the phone and do intake with clients, assess the situation and try to help. I realize these are people just like me who are looking for an ear, looking for someone to listen to their story, looking for someone to care. By providing that customer service, I am able to assist people through their crisis and make an impact in their lives.
Being an AmeriCorps member has also taught me the importance of planning and following through when it comes to buying a house. I was not aware of the enormous process that goes into buying a home prior to AmeriCorps. There are so many moving parts and people involved. It is important to know and understand all players of the game, like the servicer, investor, insurer and others. You need to know what you are getting yourself into and know that owning a home may not always be what is best for everyone.
Danielle Harvey is an AmeriCorps member at Community Housing Network in Troy.
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.