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Staff Spotlight: A Housing Counselor’s Work Helps Families Keep their Homes

Posted on 27. Jun, 2014 by

BradBrad Hellman is no rookie to the fair housing ballgame–he came to GNOFHAC about a year ago after working for a fair housing organization in California for the previous four years. He now works as a housing counselor here with GNOFHAC as a part of the Homeownership Protection Project.

As a housing counselor, Brad works with homeowners who are having trouble with their mortgages, and assists them in exploring options to avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. Brad reviews a client’s financial circumstances through one-on-one counseling, and analyzes what options they may have to keep their home. He then helps borrowers apply for workout options, and manages communications and negotiations with their loan servicers by advocating on behalf of clients.

Although the national foreclosure crisis affected the gulf south differently than much of the rest of the nation, homeowners in the greater New Orleans area face many of the same challenges that confront homeowners everywhere. Predatory lending, a weak economy, and abuses by loan servicers have caused many homeowners, disproportionately homeowners of color, to default on their loans. Despite the improving housing market, many homeowners still find themselves in difficult financial situations, and it is Brad’s job to advocate on their behalf.

Although troubles in the housing market persist, Brad believes there are ways for homebuyers to protect themselves. Primarily, he would “encourage every person considering buying a home to go to a first time homebuyers class.” These classes help families understand various city grant programs, homeowners insurance, lending, and what to expect when owning and purchasing a home. It also provides vital tools to successfully maintaining homeownership. Additionally, he would encourage anyone who is having difficulty keeping up with their mortgage to contact GNOFHAC for foreclosure counseling services.

A home is most often a family’s greatest financial asset, and therefore winning a battle to keep one’s home is fundamental in providing the opportunity for a family to continue accumulating wealth for future generations. Brad estimates that since being here he has helped 25-30 people avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. The best part of the job? “When you help somebody keep their home, it’s pretty great.”

In need of homeownership counseling services, contact Brad or one of our other counselors here.

Before coming to GNOFHAC, Brad studied Political Science at the University of Washington and worked in the fair housing realm in California. When he is not busy helping people keep their homes, he enjoys catching baseball games (go Giants!), brewing beer, and sipping quality coffee (the Kuerig coffee that GNOFHAC provides is not up to par.) He also enjoys camping and being in the great outdoors.

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