TRIBUTE TO CARMEN CASTRO-CONROY AND HUD-CERTIFIED HOUSING COUNSELORS -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 17, 2012)
[Page: E1261] GPO's PDF
HON. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2012
- Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise to bring to my colleagues' attention the ``First Person Singular'' interview by Amanda Abrams that appeared in the Washington Post magazine on Sunday, July 15, 2012 about my constituent, Carmen Castro -Conroy, the senior HUD-certified housing counselor serving my congressional district.
- I commend this article to my colleagues because it highlights the dedication and compassion of the HUD-certified counselors who are assisting those hardest hit by the housing crisis. These counselors, whose services are funded by the federal government, help homeowners who are behind or at risk of becoming behind on their mortgages to analyze their options, prepare modification applications, and advocate on their behalf. Statistics show that homeowners who utilize these counseling services have greater success in obtaining mortgage relief from their lenders than those who do not.
- My staff and I have worked with Ms. Castro -Conroy since the housing crisis began. She is a leader in her field--a truly outstanding, professional and dedicated public servant. As Ms. Castro -Conroy notes in her interview, applying for assistance is often emotionally difficult--and made even more so by the poor quality of service homeowners so often receive from the banks. Counselors like Ms. Castro -Conroy help homeowners to navigate these challenges with diligence and care.
- I hope that this article will help to educate my colleagues who fund these counseling services and the homeowners who use them about the invaluable services that our HUD-certified counselors are providing.
FIRST PERSON SINGULAR: CARMEN CASTRO -CONROY, 40, GAITHERSBURG, HOUSING COUNSELOR, HOUSING INITIATIVE PARTNERSHIP
(By Amanda Abrams)
We see a lot of families who have either lost their jobs or experienced income reduction through a cut in salary or another type of crisis related to illness, death, divorce, disability. We see all of it. They feel overwhelmed. Our job is to educate them so they can know all the options available and make good decisions.
Losing a home is devastating; just thinking about losing a home is very stressful. It's not necessarily just a house that we're talking about, it's a family. Some clients come to us when things have very much deteriorated, and they're under a lot of stress and their health is at risk. Not everyone will stay in the homes they're in, but it's better to be at peace than to try to keep a home that they cannot afford and end up in a hospital. It's difficult if you've lived in a home for a long time, and it's the only place that you think you're going to be okay.
Many times, even if they have family or friends, they feel embarrassed to let people know what they're going through, so they suffer in silence. I tell them that regardless of the outcome, they're not going to be going through this by themselves. It's my responsibility to encourage them and to lift them up. I tell them, ``This is a house; you're bigger than this, and you're going to come out of this stronger.''
I hear a lot of judgment out there of people that go into default, but I always think it could happen to anybody. I have clients who never thought they'd be diagnosed with cancer. Never thought they'd lose a husband. Never thought they were going to lose their job. It makes me very conscious about how one day you could think you have everything, and the next day your life could dramatically change.
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