Last month, Jacksonville was the top city in the nation for the most foreclosures. According to Realtytrac, there are currently more than 16,000 properties in Jacksonville that are in some stage of foreclosure.
Behind those statistics are some very heartbreaking stories about struggle, but starting Thursday, there's a chance for those people to get some free housing help.
The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, or NACA, is the nation's leading non-profit homeownership organization and today they're back in Jacksonville, holding an event to help tackle the foreclosure and mortgage problems so many people are having.
Nancy Sacco, local homeowner, is encouraging other's take advantage of it like she did.
Sacco bought a home in Arlington in 2002, then in 2008, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The surgery bills started adding up, she lost her job and she almost lost her home.
"I've been fighting Wells Fargo since then. I called and asked if they'd let me make interest only payments, they said no and then when things got really bad and I lost all my income, I called and asked them to help me out and they said not until you're current on your payments," said Sacco.
Sacco was doing everything she could to cut down on all her costs. While on the phone, frustrated, with AT&T, trying to lower that bill, the customer service agent told her about the neighborhood assistance corporation. She looked into it and went to NACA's "American Dream Event" downtown, the same one being held Thursday.
"Being in Nancys home, is what it's all about," said Bruce Marks, Founder and CEO of NACA.
Marks founded NACA 25 years ago, and has been helping people in trouble with their mortgages ever since.
"We engage in non-violence bank terrorism and what that means is that we hold the banks and the CEO's personally responsible for what they do because when you meet Nancy and the thousands of people like Nancy, it's personal and then you have to bring that personal devastation to the door steps of the CEO's so they can understand the consequences of their actions," said Marks.
NACA helped Nancy cut her mortgage payments from $955 a month plus 6 percent interest, to a $443 payment with a 2 percent interest rate for five years. She's thankful for their assistance every day and encourages anyone else in her situation, to take advantage of what they have to offer.
"Go down, bring as much paperwork as you can gather and get to the bottom line and NACA will put you in touch with your lender they have all the big lenders down there and they can help you get on the right path," said Sacco.
The mortgage relief event starts Thursday at the Prime Osborn Center, 1000 Water Street, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event runs through Monday. It's also open to home buyers who have the chance to talk with the banks and get a good mortgage rate.
Here's what you should bring to the event:
- Last 30 days of pay stubs
- Last 2 years of income tax return
- Last 3 months of bank statements (6) if self-employed, 2 years of W2's
- Last mortgage statement
- Valid ID.
We encourage homeowners to visit www.naca.com for a complete list of required documents.
Here are the top 3 questions people typically ask at these events:
- Who qualifies ? Anyone with an unaffordable mortgage.
- Do I have to be in foreclosure to attend ? No, so many of our homeowners are current on their mortgage,but are robbing Peter to pay Paul.
- Can you help me if I have a sale date ? Absolutely.
NACA is the nation's largest HUD certified non-profit community advocacy home ownership organization, and all of their services are free.
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