TAMPA, Fla. — If you are struggling to pay your rent or house payment, you've got about another month to figure out what to do to stay in your home or find another place.
Now is the time to try to figure out how to do that, not when it's down to the wire. There are people whose job it is to help you. They are called housing counselors.
"A housing counselor is a financial coach and advocate that is there for you and your family as you're trying to navigate housing decisions and make sure that you're able to stay in your home," said Eileen Fitzgerald, the head of housing affordability and philanthropy for Wells Fargo.
Housing counselors are sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and depending on your situation, Fitzgerald says they will work with you for little to no fees.
"They often work with renters on their rent repayment plans and can sometimes join in a conversation with a landlord."
Fitzgerald adds that it's not just for people renting a home.
"They also help homeowners and help them work through their budget and then look for solutions if they're behind in their mortgage payments to avoid foreclosure."
No matter your situation, if you are struggling to stay in your home, Fitzgerald says it's worth reaching out to a housing counselor. "The thing to remember is they're independent. Every conversation you have with them is private and confidential so you really share where you are and what your concerns are and they can be there to help you."
If you do meet up with a housing counselor, make sure you bring all your information on your lease or mortgage and any other parts of your budget or debts you have to pay. That way they can look at the whole picture and help you get back on track.
Need help finding a housing counselor? Click here for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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