5. February 2010
The economic downturn has led to unemployment among groups who have never before had to worry about paying their bills on time. Among them are established professionals in their 40s and 50s who were left without a job and little direction. As we’ve discussed before on our blog, people who are unaccustomed to financial problems are often reluctant to seek help, making them more likely to mismanage their limited assets. The GO! Network emerged from the recession with the specific purpose of assisting these individuals.
GO! Network hosts talks from business professionals who discuss a variety of topics from networking to entrepreneurship. The organization also hosts job fairs, workshops, and other events. The GO! Network has created a strong community of like-minded individuals. The group has a professional culture tha’ts upheld by each member. They dress in business attire and stay focused on the pressing issues they’re facing. As one member puts it, “You feel like this is a professional job search.” Participants are able to maintain their business mindsets that might otherwise slip away during unemployment.
The group has met great success: “Nearly 200 people attended the first session on Feb. 3, 2009. Since then, more than 2,000 people have joined the network and nearly 25 percent of them have found full-time employment.”Continue reading...
4. February 2010
Reverse mortgages are a complicated product and aren’t appropriate for everyone. In our final video of the series, Buz describes the basic considerations that seniors must make when determining if a reverse mortgage is right for them.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these videos. A huge thanks to Buz Zeman for talking with us. Additional information on reverse mortgages is available online from HUD and AARP. If you are seriously considering a reverse mortage, please heed Buz’s advice and talk with a good counselor! To learn more about H.O.P.E. or to make an appointment with one of their housing professionals, visit their website.
If there are other products or issues you’d like us to discuss on the blog, please let us know!Continue reading...
28. January 2010
The explosive popularity of reverse mortgages and the flood of advertisements that followed have spread a number of misconceptions about reverse mortgages. Buz addresses a number of them in this video, explaining what reverse mortgages are and aren’t. He also talks about popular scams and how to avoid them.
Look for the final video of our reverse mortgage series early next week.Continue reading...
26. January 2010
Several weeks ago, Lauren had a conversation with Buz Zeman of Housing Options Provided for the Elderly (HOPE), an organization that counsels seniors on mortgages and other housing issues. Buz said that he has had to devote much of his time lately to explaining reverse mortgages. Though this sort of loan is not new, it’s become increasingly popular in the midst of the economic downturn, and their nontraditional nature makes them especially confusing. We’ve broken down the discussion into several clips that describe how a reverse mortgage works and the issues surrounding them. We’ll be posting them over the next few days.
In this first video, Buz goes over the basics of a reverse mortgage, describing how they work and what makes them different.
Here Buz describes the cost structure of a reverse mortgage.
Next Buz talks about the principle trade-off of a reverse mortgage: money now or money left to heirs.
Check back over the week as we post additional insights from Buz regarding reverse mortgages.Continue reading...
In this video, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay suggests that anyone facing foreclosure or in trouble with their mortgage seek assistance and determine if they are eligible for the Refinance and Loan Modification program. More information can be found at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.
In this video, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley encourages those facing financial hardship or anyone who fears losing their home to seek assistance. Tax-payer funded, HUD-certified housing counselors offer services at no charge, and can assist someone facing foreclosure with discussing options with their lender. For information or to connect to resources, call the United Way‘s helpline at 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-2626.
In this video, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster talks about how to avoid scams that prey on people during times of economic hardship. When seeking foreclosure prevention counseling or loan modification assistance, never pay up-front fees before services are rendered. Tax-payer funded, HUD-certified housing counselors offer services at no charge. If you encounter what you believe to be a scam, contact the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-392-8222.Continue reading...
16. December 2009
The community leaders we spoke with during our trip to Cuba, MO had an extensive understanding of the city’s history and former problems. This video gives a brief overview of a previous economic crisis that devasted Cuba in the early 1980s. Several residents explain how Cuba recovered and, most importantly, what’s different today.
You can also view the video in YouTube.Continue reading...
1. December 2009
The second in our series highlighting the success of Cuba, MO during the recession, this video focuses on the town’s rich community spirit. The leaders we talked to couldn’t say enough about the closeness of the residents and how neighbors help each other through tough times. Watch the video to see how such togetherness helped the town emerge from even the most difficult financial times.
You can also view the video in YouTube.Continue reading...
1. December 2009
With the holiday season just beginning, it’s a great opportunity to recognize the work being done to help people in difficult times throughout the St. Louis area. As expected, 2009 has been a busy year for charitable organizations. The recession has created a large demand for services from local agencies, and lower incomes that can decrease donations make it difficult to keep up.
The St. Louis Area Foodbank has observed significantly increased need during the recession. Jane Corpora, Development Supervisor at the Foodbank, said that the number of people they help every week has increased from 60,000 in recent years to 72,000 in 2009. Of the people who began receiving assistance this year, 70% have never before needed aide. This reflects trends we’ve seen in the housing crisis, where many homeowners who have never before had problems paying their mortgage are now facing foreclosure. The Foodbank will distribute 21 million pounds of food by the end of 2009, a 50% jump from 2008.
The Foodbank has kept up with the additional need thanks in no small part to the response of St. Louis residents. Most benefactors continue to give during the recession, though the size of individual donations has decreased. The Foodbank has counteracted this loss by increasing the number of donors. The public has also responded by giving their time. “Our volunteers are remarkable. This year, 10,000 people will volunteer at least 3 hours each in our Repackaging Center,” Jane said. She noted that their volunteer slots are almost completely full until the end of the year.
To learn about contributing to the St. Louis Area Foodbank through donations or volunteering, visit their website. Though the Foodbank is mostly booked until 2010, many organizations are in need of volunteers during the holiday season. Visit VolunteerMatch to find opportunities near you. Also remember that operations at the Foodbank and other charitable organizations are year-round, and they can use your help during any season.Continue reading...