Homeowner’s Assistance Fund mortgage mix-up leaves Florida mom on verge of foreclosure

News 6 and DEO get nearly $4,000 to cover missing payments

LAKE PLACID, Fla. – An apparent mortgage account mix-up with the Department of Economic Opportunity’s Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) nearly forced a single mother and her family out of their Lake Placid, Florida home.

Lashawn Kinsey told News 6 her mortgage company, Freedom Mortgage, had given her until Saturday, Feb. 4 to pay up or face foreclosure proceedings.

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The mother of three said the homeowner assistance program had approved 18 monthly payments that were being paid on time for the first four months before suddenly stopping without explanation in November, December and January.

“I owe all of this money, which I don’t have, and my credit score has dropped 200 points because of that delinquent account, “Kinsey said.

Kinsey, a bachelor’s degree candidate, is working as a substitute teacher in the Lake Placid area.

The mother of 3 contacted News 6 and Make Ends Meet when the Homeowner assistance program staff continued to tell her the records showed the monthly payments were going out on time.

“And I asked them, ‘In the meantime‚ what am I supposed to do?’” a frustrated Kinsey told News 6. “The program was supposed to help me, and now it’s hindering me.”

News 6 presented the case to the DEO in Tallahassee.

Two HAF account investigators were assigned to the case, and it was determined that Kinsey’s records showed the account was designated to another mortgage company .

The case is confusing because the payments stopped in November 2022, yet an email obtained by News 6 confirms the DEO alerted Kinsey of a change in January 2023.

The email read in part: “We have been notified that your servicer account number and/or payment address has changed.”

Kinsey told News 6 the account and servicer had been changed in July and that Freedom Mortgage had received the first four mortgage payments like clockwork.

From November to January, the payments to Freedom Mortgage stopped, and there is no evidence that the funds were issued to another account.

The DEO is working to determine what triggered the account change and delinquent payments.

The HAF mortgage, utilities and internet assistance was confirmed in a letter from the DEO to Kinsey dated July 13, 2022.

Ironically, the payments for internet and utilities have been paid on time every month.

In the meantime, the HAF team told Kinsey this week the funds are being paid forward to cover the missing payments in the mortgage account along with the February payment.

The key to the case is the paper trail. The documents provided compelling evidence that the funds were supposed to be issued but were in fact missing.

If you have an issue with a DEO/HAF or SBA account, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text the words make ends meet along with your issue to 407-676-7428.

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About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.