Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 14:30
By Meg Waters
If you’re having difficulty paying your bills, whether because of the flood or not, there’s a county program designed to help you map out the best path forward. The housing and financial counseling program from Boulder County Housing and Human Services enables residents to meet with a financial counselor for free.
Prior to September 2013, the program primarily focused on foreclosure prevention, and on helping people who were considering a home purchase figure out the finances around that decision. “We also work with people on just straight-up budgets, getting their budget to a balanced state,” says Becky Thelen, a housing and financial counselor with the program. “And we help people clarify their financial goals and tailor their budget to achieve those goals. We work on credit improvement for individuals, reverse mortgage counseling, and for people who are refinancing their mortgage, we talk through their new loan, make sure the terms make sense, that sort of thing.”
Since the flood, the scope of the program has expanded. “What we’re finding is a lot of people feel stuck in a holding pattern,” Thelen says. “They’re not able to move forward on repairs or rebuilding or purchasing a new property because there are so many moving targets. Will they get the buyout? Can they get the permits to rebuild? Will they need to elevate? How can they finance repairs and their existing mortgage at the same time? What’s going to happen with spring runoff?
“We help people sort through the many options they have and all the variables that go into each one,” Thelen continues. “Then we help them create a plan for moving forward. If someone wants to repair their property, we determine whether that’s financially feasible, how much they can afford for repairs, what their options are for financing it, and whether financial assistance is available. There are a lot of common themes, but everybody has very distinctive, individualized variables, so we help them create their own personal follow-up plans.”
Whether or not a homeowner is rebuilding, Thelen and her colleagues can help determine what types of payment relief might be available through the mortgage company. “We’ve found that lenders seem to be pretty willing to work with homeowners, but since everybody’s in a different financial circumstance with different goals and different mortgages, the way the lender works with them is different for everyone,” Thelen says. “We can help provide realistic expectations about what mortgage companies can do with homeowners, and what the likelihood of getting different options looks like.” The organization can also act as a communication conduit between the homeowner and the mortgage company.
Thelen has found that even when a homeowner is successful in working with his or her mortgage company shortly after a crisis, that relationship may break down over time. “I think that as more time passes since the flood occurred, mortgage companies will become less likely to extend mortgage payment forbearances or deferments,” she says. “We’ll need to be working on more permanent solutions for people.”
In addition to flood-related financial counseling, Thelen and her colleagues continue to offer the same services they provided before September. “Anyone who is having difficulty paying their mortgage and all of their expenses should contact a housing and financial counselor, whether or not that’s flood-related,” Thelen says. “The services are always free.”
The program is funded by grants from federal and local government agencies, as well as the IRS’s National Mortgage Settlement. “Anytime anyone offers this type of service for a fee, that’s a red flag,” Thelen says.
Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 14:16
After six successful years overseeing the production of the Lyons 9Health Fair, Jonelle Tucker is stepping down. “It has been an honor to work with such a fantastic group of people and provide such an important and beneficial service to our community, ” says Tucker. “In addition to just trying to pull back from some of my volunteer activities, I’ve been working with “It has been an honor to work with such a fantastic group of people and provide such an important and beneficial
Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 13:57
Governor John Hickenlooper will visit Lyons on Saturday, May 17, to officially sign into law, a bill that recently passed the Colorado Legislature, which will provide financial relief from property taxes for homes that were destroyed by natural causes and are no longer inhabitable.
Lyons Mayor John O’Brien will introduce the Governor and other honored guests. The bill signing ceremony will take place in the Confluence Neighborhood at the corner of Evans and Fourth Avenue (near where the former pedestrian bridge crossed the river), at approximately 1 p.m.
Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 13:49
By Janaki Jane, Colorado Spirit
The Lyons & Environs Colorado Spirit Team listens to stories of area residents’ experiences of the flood on a daily basis. Recently, these stories have brought to mind another story: one about a Thanksgiving tradition some families have. They give thanks for all of the people that brought them their Thanksgiving feast. It takes a while. For instance, to give thanks for the turkey, they thank both the farmer who raised it and the farmers who raised the feed. They thank all those whoRead more: The Fabric of Community and Accepting Help
Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 13:38
The Butterfly Pavilion’s front entrance is home to a new wind-powered kinetic sculpture by Lyons artist John King. Commissioned in June of 2012, the original work-in-progress was wiped out along with King’s studio at his home along the St. Vrain River during the historic flood last September. After rebuilding his studio at what is locally know as “The River
Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 13:23
Roads Traveled by Linda L. Osmundson
It’s that time of year again, when the Governor’s Invitational Art Show and Sale runs for six weeks, from May 4, through June 15, at the Loveland Museum/Gallery. The twenty-third annual exhibit of Colorado artists is sponsored by the Loveland and Thompson Valley Rotary Clubs. Artists submit up to four pieces of their work to be considered for the show, and are
Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 13:15
The Boulder County plein air artist community and the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department and Foundation are excited to host the second Plein Air Exhibit featuring Boulder County Parks and Open Space lands. A plein air “paint-out” will take place from June 1, through August 10, on Boulder County open space properties.
Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 13:01
Long, dormant dark winter sleep
Published on Thursday, May 15 2014 12:53
Sunday was Mothers’ Day and although cold and snowy, I am sure you all had time to remember your mother, for all she has done for you. A plant, dinner, corsage, drive, church, etc., no doubt made her proud that you were hers. My mother was a schoolteacher, and we had to get our homework done by a coal oil lamp (before REA in 1937), and walk to school