On August 2022, Arlene Dempsey reached out to Mark Lamela, through the Ocean Inc. Housing Counseling Program to resolve her mortgage delinquency. Due to COVID and other numerous issues, Ms. Dempsey had fallen behind on her mortgage and was not able to pay the total arrears and her mortgage company was initiating foreclosure activity.
From August to September, Mark Lamela, the Ocean Inc. Housing Counselor went back and forth with her mortgage company to determine what loss mitigation options were available to resolve her mortgage delinquency. The only option provided was a repayment plan which was an additional $2,000 more a month in addition to her current monthly payment. Ms. Dempsey is retired and on a fixed income so she would not be able to make these repayments to bring her mortgage current.
By November 2022, Ocean Inc. was awarded the Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) contract which offers financial assistance to eligible homeowners who have experienced a significant decrease of income or increase of expenses due to COVID-19 and have been unable to remain current with their mortgage payments.
Through this new partnership, Ocean Inc. began accepting applications for residents in the community who suffered a COVID related hardship causing them to fall behind on their mortgage, property taxes, HOA fees and municipal liens. During this time, Lamela realized that in order to save Ms. Dempsey from losing her home of over 25 years, ERMA was the only option. After 45 days of reaching out to Ms. Dempsey, Lamela discussed the new program with her, assisted with completing and submitting her ERMA application on 12/9/22 and restored her hope.
On January 31, 2023, Ms. Dempsey signed her ERMA closing package. She not only received assistance to pay her mortgage up to date but was also approved for monthly payment support for additional months, allowing her to catch up on other bills in which she fell behind. Ms. Dempsey stated to Mark Lamela, Ocean Inc. Housing Counselor, “I gave up, that’s why I didn’t call you back when you were reaching out to me….but you never gave up on me.”
Another home saved by Ocean Inc. through the ERMA and HUD Housing Counseling Programs. If you would like to learn more about the ERMA Program, contact Mark Lamela at (732) 244-5333- Ext. 1110. #CommunityAction