How Melinda’s Tragedy Almost Left Her and Her Children Homeless

Nikki WallerDirector of Financial & Relational Development

On November 29, 2016, Melinda’s husband died suddenly. 

Melinda met her husband, Michael, in college in 2000 and their connection was undeniable. In 2003, they did a semester abroad where they traveled Europe and experienced things many people dream of. In May of 2003, Michael proposed to Melinda under the Eiffel tower. Shortly after getting married, they became pregnant with their first son, Mark. Just three years later they knew they wanted another child, so they had Maxwell – or if you ask him, it’s Max-a-million.

On Thanksgiving Day in 2016, Michael woke up and didn’t feel well enough to go to Thanksgiving dinner with the family. Melinda recalled laughing and saying he just wanted to stay home and watch the game in peace – she knew Michael didn’t care for forced family conversations. She understood, but she didn’t realize how precious that day was. Four days later, he died. 

The month that followed was a blur. Melinda tried her hardest to give the kids a happy Christmas – she didn’t want to ruin the holiday for them.  Max-a-million was 5 and the holiday was still so special to him. He wrote a letter to Santa asking for his dad to be home for Christmas. Melinda tried to keep the home happy. 

But things happened as they always do. She was devastated, but she kept going. Melinda was a college professor, she wanted to get back to work as soon as possible – she craved a distraction. 

Michael’s work provided a life insurance policy of $5,000. They hadn’t taken out additional life insurance policies because they were both so healthy and they already had so many bills. They thought life insurance could wait. 

Melinda considered selling the house, but she feared what the sudden change would do to her children. So, she continued the uphill climb to make ends meet. Eventually it became too much.

In January 2017, Melinda gave in to her depression and stopped doing things. The loss of her husband and the father of her children hit her like a bus, and it consumed her. She paid the utility bills and went through the motions of being a mother, but the mortgage quickly fell behind. 

Four months later, she faced foreclosure. 

A friend heard about what was happening, and they told her about HOPE of Evansville’s foreclosure prevention services. So, Melinda made the call.

Kathy isn’t just the foreclosure prevention specialist who knows how to do only her day-to-day tasks. She wants to dive into the root of the problem

Kathy talked to her about her emotional struggles and urged her to go to counseling. Kathy contacted the lender immediately – she knew about programs that would prevent this foreclosure from happening. 

Kathy worked with Melinda to put together a loss mitigation package that qualified her for financial assistance to bring her mortgage current. 

Melinda didn’t lose her home. Kathy was able to bring Melinda’s mortgage current.

Today, Melinda and her boys are still living in their home. The boys both play basketball and Melinda has continued to seek emotional support through counseling. Melinda finally took the time to grieve the loss of her husband.

This happens more often than you can imagine. HOPE can provide foreclosure prevention services for anyone within our service area. Our foreclosure specialist knows about the different programs available that are state and federally funded to help people in difficult situations. Our specialist also can work with lenders to modify payments, so someone can pay for their home. 

Foreclosure prevention is critical. It prevents homelessness, stabilizes families, and keeps our neighborhoods whole and intact. 

If you are facing foreclosure, contact Kathy Duncan at 812-423-3169 ext 102. 

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