Thursday I had an appointment for what I was told was the “Distressed Homeowner’s Class” at our local HUD office, which I quickly learned was about bankruptcy. Gulp. Panic. I was in the right class, but I was looking for resources for disabled folks looking to keep their homes. I figured if I could handle the class I could then meet with the facilitator one-on-one.
Financially-speaking, I have some savings, still fighting with Unemployment to unleash my benefits, owe less than $500 on credit, my only debt is mortgage. I’ve never been late on a payment; I have excellent credit, etc.
The class, like most classes I attend post-injury, was over my head. She gave us a lot of handouts and went through things very quickly, so quickly my head was spinning. I did, however, manage to stay so I could talk to her afterwards. She would meet with us individually for about 20 minutes to open a file and ask us questions.
I told her I was hoping to keep my house if possible, avoid foreclosure and keep the excellent credit rating I’ve worked all my life to maintain. She asked what she could do to help me and I asked if there were any resources for disabled folks who are in between a rock and a hard place. I explained I can no longer work full-time, I can’t just go get another job, I’ve gone through DVR twice, I’m on DSHS and they just reduced my food allowance, and I have hired an attorney to obtain my Disability benefits.
I told her how much I paid for the house; she asked how much I could sell it for. I told her and she said how much I would walk away with. That wouldn’t be enough to buy anything. She was stumped. She talked about Section 8 and I said as understood it, I would lose my house and pets and live in subsidized housing. I mentioned I lost everything else; I wanted to hold on to the two pieces that mean the most. She said there are resources for people with disabilities looking to buy, but none she knew of for current homeowners.
She asked the size of the house and said people in my shoes she usually recommends getting a roommate. I nodded saying I’d thought about that too, but having someone live with me would be too much. I illustrated by telling her how it was having the roofers at the house, how I started shaking, had to put in earplugs, and when that wasn’t enough, had to put the big commercial ear protection muffs on over that.
I said I can’t be the only person in the state, let alone the entire country who has experienced this. I shared that others who have walked in my shoes with my disability end up losing everything and I said that’s why I’ve fought so hard, budgeted down to the dime, etc., in an effort to keep that from happening. I said there just has to be resources for people with disabilities trying to maintain their independence. She was stumped.
I mentioned I know Congress has been passing legislation for home owners, but that I didn’t know what that was yet. She said she didn’t either.
She saw the brochure I picked up in the lobby for people with disabilities who want to buy a home and she suggested I tell them everything I told her and see what they say, and then forward that message on to her. Other than that, she really couldn’t help me unless I decide to file for bankruptcy. Wow. I sure can’t be the only disabled person in the history of the United States facing this!
This is frustrating, I am looking for resources, I am trying to do everything I know to do and am coming up empty handed time after time.
I did call Unemployment again, this time they said they never received the medical authorization from my doctor! Last time I called they said they received it and it would take six weeks for them to make a decision. Grrrrr! I called my doctor’s office, they do have it, but because I’m not an active patient (my insurance ran out years ago), my file is off-site, they don’t go there often. Often?! The form was sent the middle of last month and was noted to be returned to Unemployment by August 28. I’ve been waiting all this time…the saga never ends.
This was a very sobering and somber meeting at the HUD office, another opportunity to look reality in the face, should things come to that. There are times on this path one has to look at the lesser side of how we would like things to turn out. This was one, and it has taken me a long time to let this settle in my spirit and be okay with blogging about it. It is depressing, heartbreaking, and has made me considerably sad. The funny thing about the rest of society experiencing this now is that every disabled person I know has faced this very path. It’s not a matter of society’s economy, but the individual’s economy has changed and they have faced this. It is not pretty, it is not pleasant. I do not favor it for myself. I have yet to meet a person who can say they’re all the better for going bankrupt or for losing their home, possessions, pets, etc. These hard times may be new for the country, but they are nothing new to anyone with a disability. Why must we be relegated to lose everything and then live in poverty, or below poverty?
As I drove to a friend’s house to pick up some surplus apples, I stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to change. I felt that little nudge, a reminder from God, “Streams in the desert.” It is a promise from the Bible God will give us streams in the desert, fitting in light of the dark skies and rain.