TUCSON (Source: Gabrielle Giffords) – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office worked with a homeowner to successfully communicate with a mortgage company to reduce home loan payments for the Tucson woman who was facing foreclosure and eviction.“They ran me around in circles for nearly two years,” Debbie Jo Rice said of her mortgage servicing company. “I thought I could do it myself, but it took the congresswoman’s office to get it done.”
Rice lives and operates a horse-boarding business on Tucson’s far northeast side, on ranch-style property that has been in her family for nearly 70 years. Her husband, Daniel, died suddenly of brain cancer in 2008, which caused her to fall behind in the mortgage payments.
“Losing him and the economy really took its toll on me,” Rice said.
Beginning in 2009, she tried to work with the company that is servicing her mortgage, seeking a payment reduction so she could remain in her home. After receiving no help, she contacted Giffords’ office in March 2010.
A constituent services representative in Giffords’ Tucson District Office submitted congressional inquiries on Rice’s behalf. In the meantime, Rice received notice in November 2010 that her home would be foreclosed upon Feb. 23.
Giffords’ office helped her receive assistance through the federal government’s anti-foreclosure effort, the Making Home Affordable Program. The program can temporarily cut struggling borrowers’ monthly payments by reductions in the interest rate, extensions of mortgage terms and other steps.
“Debbie Jo would be out of options if it wasn’t for a program to help homeowners,” said Pia Carusone, Giffords’ Chief of Staff. “She is not alone. Making Home Affordable is far from perfect but it has prevented foreclosures in Southern Arizona and across the country.”