Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa workshop offers hope in face of foreclosure

TAMPA — Josephine Cartagena stepped out of Jefferson High School on Saturday morning with tears in her eyes.

Her home is facing foreclosure.

The Carrollwood condo she bought in 2006 has an adjustable rate mortgage. The monthly payment keeps climbing, and the disabled veteran said she can't keep up.

But that wasn't the reason for her tears. These were happy ones. On this morning, she had found hope.

Cartagena is one of more than 100 people who attended a foreclosure prevention assistance workshop hosted by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.

In its sixth year, the workshop was a chance for those seeking mortgage help to get some face time with lenders. Representatives from more than 16 banks and 12 counseling agencies were on hand for the event.

"It's difficult to work with a loan service or bank over the phone," said Castor, D-Tampa. "We bring the folks in who do loss mitigation from all over the country to sit down and do one-on-one counseling."

That's why Cartagena came.

"The call centers are horrible, you get people from all over," she said.

The Chase representative she talked with on Saturday helped her set up a meeting with a person in Tampa to talk further about modifying her loan.

"It's like a beacon of light for me to be able to keep my house," Cartagena said.

But not everyone left happy.

"There's nothing being done here," said Ronald Roppolo of Brandon, who said he is frustrated by the mortgage modification system.

"You keep submitting the same paperwork and nobody knows what the other people are doing."

Chris Thayer of Tampa felt the same way.

Thayer said he was approved for the Making Home Affordable Program last year but his lender, Bank of America, has since retracted the offer.

He came Saturday to find out why, but wasn't able to get an answer.

"I just wanted to get assistance," Thayer said.

Castor acknowledged that not everyone who attended the workshop received a mortgage modification but she hopes they did receive advice.

"I wish we could help everyone," Castor said. "It's hard for those who have lost their job or have no income. That's been a major problem in this area with the high unemployment."

Robert Shelnutt and his wife lost the majority of their income three years ago when she got laid off and his real estate development came to a halt.

They applied for the Making Home Affordable Program last year but were denied. Now, back on their feet but with less income than they had a few years ago, Shelnutt said he hopes they'll qualify this time around.

The workshop offered that chance, he said.

"I'm glad we got that direct point of contact, otherwise I feel like we would just get swept away," he said.

The couple bought their Tampa home 10 years ago with plans to retire there someday. Shelnutt said he's trying to make that happen.

"We want to do the right thing, to honor our obligation," he said. "We just need the opportunity to do that."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at (813) 661-2442 or srossetter@sptimes.com.

>> Fast facts

Get help

To contact U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, call (813) 871-2817 or go to her Tampa office at 4144 N Armenia Ave.,

Suite 300.

For mortgage advice, contact HOPE NOW, a non-profit, HUD-approved credit counseling organization, toll-free at 1-888-995-4673.

Tampa workshop offers hope in face of foreclosure 05/21/11 [Last modified: Saturday, May 21, 2011 9:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Home of Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hits market at $3.45 million

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is back on the market for $3.45 million after a brief hiatus.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is on the market for $3.45 million. [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  2. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy

    Business

    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where condominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  4. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]