COMMENTARY | Not everyone is cut out to become a homeowner. Home ownership is not a right.
The faith-based Habitat for Humanity for Humanity organization is learning this hard lesson about personality responsibility in Cleveland. The non-profit group of home building volunteers is preparing to foreclose on 25 properties, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The majority of occupants are 40 months behind on their interest-free, no money down mortgage payments.
The worthy program offers a hand-up and not a hand-out, but is still failing.
Habitat for Humanity homeowners work with volunteers to build the homes and then must take over the property mortgage and make monthly payments. The state of the national economy is grim, but prosperity is looming in Ohio. Unemployment numbers continue to shrink each month and job fairs are routinely held in major cities. It is impossible to know if the homeowners were totally irresponsible after being handed keys to their new homes or if job loss was a key factor in the delinquent mortgage payments. It is doubtful that Habitat for Humanity foreclosures are only occurring in Cleveland.
According to local Habitat for Humanity chapter Executive Director John Habat, homeowners will have 32 days to respond to the potential foreclosure letter before being removed from the property. The owners in jeopardy of losing their homes will have the option to catch up on mortgage payments, work with a housing group to restructure their loans or challenge the mortgage balance, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Unemployment has caused many American homeowners to fall behind on their mortgages, but the number of months the Cleveland Habitat homeowners are behind indicates a certain level of irresponsibility. The homeowners have a contact person at the non-profit to speak with about home issues. Sometime between the first missed payment and the fortieth, there should have been a communication about the loss of a paycheck, high medical bills or other legitimate reason the individual is failing to meet loan terms.
Habitat for Humanity has built 160 homes in Cleveland during the past 35 years. According to the Plain Dealer, the typical house payment is less than $500 per month. During the program qualification process, the applicant must attend home ownership workshops and fiscal literacy classes. In light of the massive number of delinquent homeowners in a single city, the organization should mandate monthly meetings to circumvent such problems in the future.
- Real Estate
- Habitat for Humanity