By Mr Andrew R McIntyre (Jackson)April 19, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Purchasing a home is one the biggest financial decisions a person can make in his or her life. Not only are the location, decor, maintenance, safety and price major factors, but so is the potential resale value if moving is required. For many military families, this is a familiar issue.
For Soldiers who live off-post and own a home, the potential for resale of the purchased home falls solely on various market factors. The Department of Defense partnered with the Hope Now Foundation -- an alliance between various organizations involved in the mortgage market -- in an effort to assist military members who face financial hardship because of having to sell their home.
So far, the partnership has resulted in events at Fort Gordon, Ga., and at Fort Jackson that were aimed at getting Soldiers in touch with lenders to find out if and how they could refinance their homes.
"We will use Fort Jackson and Fort Gordon as a model to set up similar events in the future for military members who have some sort of hardship with their mortgage and have them sit down face-to-face with their lender so they may better assist them their mortgage issues," said Brad Dwin, director of communications with the Hope Now Foundation.
The Fort Jackson event took place at the Joe E. Mann Center Wednesday and featured more than 20 lenders. The event was sponsored by Fort Jackson Housing Services.
"The goal is to get our customers connected with their lenders to talk about issues and concerns that they may have about their mortgage," said Emma Watson, Chief of Housing Division. "Do you need help with your mortgage at your losing installation? We can help you with that."
Many senior service members deal with this issue as they move frequently. The average duty assignment for a service member at one base ranges from two to four years. Capt. Maxine Reyes said she attended in hopes of finding out if her lender had a lower interest rate for her second home at her previous duty station at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"We have Soldiers that do not make a lot of money, and to have a spouse not working because of the economy and still having to pay on two households is hard," Reyes said.
Capt. Alice Sylvester said she thinks that a permanent change of station move can create financial hardship for Soldiers who own homes.
"It is a hardship; you are leaving one location and have to set up some type of living arrangement for your family in the new location, so you are paying two mortgages," Sylvester said.
Fort Jackson Soldiers who attended and were able to see their lenders said they benefited from the program and it met their expectations.