Sylvia Alvarez didn’t grasp the enormity of the crisis about to engulf her community until she returned to her office in Tampa, Florida, after a long weekend and found her voicemail filled with messages from distraught homeowners.
It was early 2008. The bottom had fallen out of both the housing market and the local economy, and record numbers of people had begun defaulting on their mortgages. Callers flooded the phone lines to the Housing & Education Alliance, Alvarez’s housing counseling agency — not realizing the same forces that had wrecked their finances were also threatening to sink the agency they were now turning to for help.
“I was overwhelmed,” Alvarez said recently, recalling the twin challenges of trying to help people save their homes and also keep afloat her nonprofit, which was largely dependent on vanishing support from the mortgage industry. “I remember saying, ‘How in the hell are we going to do this?’”
image:Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.