Washington – Eighth District Congressman Chris Van Hollen took time last week to call Congress’ attention to the “dedication and compassion of HUD-certified counselors who are assisting those hardest hit by the housing crisis.”
The congressman read into the Congressional Record a moving July 15 interview in the Washington Post Magazine with Carmen Castro-Conroy, a senior counselor with the Housing Initiative Partnership in Montgomery County.
“I hear a lot of judgment out there of people that go into default, but I always think it could happen to anybody,” Mrs. Castro-Conroy says in the magazine’s First Person Singular column. “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. …”
Later in the interview, Mrs. Castro-Conroy continues, “I love what I do. I was thinking about this during the weekend, during Mass. This is one way to show that you love God, working in the face of people that are in trouble, people that are suffering. Before ’08, I was working in a home-ownership education program. We were all pulled out from that to serve in foreclosure intervention counseling. We didn’t know how long it was going to last, and now we’re in the fourth year of crisis. And we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
As Rep. Van Hollen notes in the record, there are a great many counselors just like Mrs. Castro-Conroy. They are unsung first-responders in our no-holds-barred fight to preserve and protect the most precious financial asset families have - their home.
Since the start of the foreclosure crisis in 2007, counselors with Maryland’s HOPE Counseling Network have helped more than 70,000 families facing foreclosure.
And there may be light, at last, at the end of that tunnel.
Maryland foreclosures declined by nearly 4 percent during the second quarter of 2012, compared to the same period last year. Learn more about foreclosure prevention measures in Maryland under the leadership of Governor Martin O’Malley by clicking on the “foreclosure prevention” button under categories on the right.