EASTHAMPTON MASSACHUSETTS NEWS AND BLOG


Latest News - EASTHAMPTON MASSACHUSETTS

Public input sought as Easthampton updates Hazard Mitigation Plan


EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton officials are currently assessing ...
and is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The meeting will include an introduction to the hazard mitigation planning ...

SpaceFinder launches in Massachusetts to help artists find unconventional venues


an independent artist in Easthampton, to spread the word about the service among artists and to enlist venues. “Space is a huge issue here in Western Massachusetts,” said Lepore, who helped connect SpaceFinder with local studios. Lepore works and ...

Truth Telling


She practices in Springfield and Easthampton, Massachusetts. Her book, Blue Butterfly Open: Moments from a Child Psychotherapy Practice, will be published by Gallery Of Readers Press in the fall of 2015.

Questions on Drew Lane Pool, Pilings


He said that Lee Weishar, a senior scientist and coastal engineer at the Woods Hole Group, a Massachusetts environmental firm, had concluded that the construction could be accomplished without undue impact on the environment. Mr. Newbold was skeptical.

Massachusetts insurance premiums raise the most


Massachusetts tops the list of states where premiums raise the most. We took the study to KSK Insurance in Easthampton. They told us the fast raising rates in Massachusetts may be a result of all the weather related accidents. KSK told us an accident that ...

Overcoming the odds: Jim Egan of Easthampton has his life back after unlikely kidney transplant


EASTHAMPTON — James “Jim” Egan III of Loudville Road ...
the chance of finding a matching donor to give a kidney was about 2 percent. Then on Oct. 30, 2014, a Massachusetts General Hospital staff member contacted him with the news that the hospital ...

VIDEO: Microburst Tears Through Massachusetts Town With 100-MPH Winds


A fleeting but devastating microburst slammed parts of Easthampton, Massachusetts, in the early morning of Wednesday, Oct. 8, flattening trees and battering homes. Just before 5 a.m. EDT, 100-mph winds pushed through Hampshire County, destroying trees ...

National Weather Service: Easthampton Storm was Microburst, Not Tornado


The National Weather Service says the storm that caused serious damage to the town of Easthampton, Massachusetts, on Wednesday appears to have been a microburst and not a tornado. Easthampton Mayor Karen Cadieux had initially said a tornado might have hit ...

Microburst In Easthampton, Massachusetts Seriously Damages 3 Houses


It was quite a scare for residents in the Western Massachusetts town of Easthampton when an storm early Wednesday morning ripped through part of town. Many residents said the storm, which had winds of up to 75 mph, felt like a tornado. The National ...

Easthampton, Massachusetts Vacation Rentals


Easthampton, Massachusetts offers great vacation house rental and home rental-by-owner deals for the knowledgeable traveler. No matter what budget or level of comfort you seek in your holiday to Easthampton, MA, there's surely a great local vacation home ...




SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR EASTHAMPTON

Warning in EASTHAMPTON: Government Grant Scams

“Because you pay your income taxes on time, you have been awarded a free $12,500 government grant! To get your grant, simply give us your checking account information, and we will direct-deposit the grant into your bank account!”

Sometimes, it’s an ad that claims you will qualify to receive a “free grant” to pay for education costs, home repairs, home business expenses, or unpaid bills. Other times, it’s a phone call supposedly from a “government” agency or some other organization with an official sounding name. In either case, the claim is the same: your application for a grant is guaranteed to be accepted, and you’ll never have to pay the money back.

But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says that “money for nothing” grant offers usually are scams, whether you see them in your local paper or a national magazine, or hear about them on the phone.

Some scam artists advertise “free grants” in the classifieds, inviting readers to call a toll-free number for more information. Others are more bold: they call you out of the blue. They lie about where they’re calling from, or they claim legitimacy using an official-sounding name like the “Federal Grants Administration.” They may ask you some basic questions to determine if you “qualify” to receive a grant. FTC attorneys say calls and come-ons for free money invariably are rip offs.

Grant scammers generally follow a script: they congratulate you on your eligibility, then ask for your checking account information so they can “deposit your grant directly into your account,” or cover a one-time “processing fee.” The caller may even reassure you that you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied. In fact, you’ll never see the grant they promise; they will disappear with your money.

The FTC says following a few basic rules can keep consumers from losing money to these “government grant” scams:

  • Don’t give out your bank account information to anyone you don’t know. Scammers pressure people to divulge their bank account information so that they can steal the money in the account. Always keep your bank account information confidential. Don’t share it unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary.
  • Don’t pay any money for a “free” government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it isn’t really free. A real government agency won’t ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded — or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is www.grants.gov.
  • Look-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the caller says he’s from the “Federal Grants Administration” doesn’t mean that he is. There is no such government agency. Take a moment to check the blue pages in your telephone directory to bear out your hunch — or not.
  • Phone numbers can deceive. Some con artists use Internet technology to disguise their area code in caller ID systems. Although it may look like they’re calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
  • Take control of the calls you receive. If you want to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register online, visit donotcall.gov. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register.
  • File a complaint with the FTC. If you think you may have been a victim of a government grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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EASTHAMPTON MASSACHUSETTS tspan:3m EASTHAMPTON MASSACHUSETTS




Avoiding Foreclosure in EASTHAMPTON

The Obama Administration has implemented a number of programs to assist homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and otherwise struggling with their monthly mortgage payments. The majority of these programs are administered through the U.S. Treasury Department and HUD. This page provides a summary of these various programs. Please continue reading in order to determine which program can best assist you.

Please read FHA's brochure, "Save Your Home:  Tips to Avoid Foreclosure," also published in   Spanish,  Chinese and  Vietnamese.

Making Home Affordable

The Making Home Affordable © (MHA) Program is a critical part of the Obama Administration's broad strategy to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, stabilize the country's housing market, and improve the nation's economy.

Homeowners can lower their monthly mortgage payments and get into more stable loans at today's low rates. And for those homeowners for whom homeownership is no longer affordable or desirable, the program can provide a way out which avoids foreclosure. Additionally, in an effort to be responsive to the needs of today's homeowners, there are also options for unemployed homeowners and homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth. Please read the following program summaries to determine which program options may be best suited for your particular circumstances.

Modify or Refinance Your Loan for Lower Payments

  • Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP): HAMP lowers your monthly mortgage payment to 31 percent of your verified monthly gross (pre-tax) income to make your payments more affordable. The typical HAMP modification results in a 40 percent drop in a monthly mortgage payment. Eighteen percent of HAMP homeowners reduce their payments by $1,000 or more. Click Here for more information.
  • Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA): PRA was designed to help homeowners whose homes are worth significantly less than they owe by encouraging servicers and investors to reduce the amount you owe on your home. Click Here for more information.  
  • Second Lien Modification Program (2MP): If your first mortgage was permanently modified under HAMP SM and you have a second mortgage on the same property, you may be eligible for a modification or principal reduction on your second mortgage under 2MP. Likewise, If you have a home equity loan, HELOC, or some other second lien that is making it difficult for you to keep up with your mortgage payments, learn more about this MHA program. Click Here for more information.
  • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): If you are current on your mortgage and have been unable to obtain a traditional refinance because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through HARP. HARP is designed to help you refinance into a new affordable, more stable mortgage. Click Here for more information.

“Underwater” Mortgages

In today's housing market, many homeowners have experienced a decrease in their home's value. Learn about these MHA programs to address this concern for homeowners.

  • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): If you are current on your mortgage and have been unable to obtain a traditional refinance because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through HARP. HARP is designed to help you refinance into a new affordable, more stable mortgage. Click Here for more information.
  • Principal Reduction Alternative: PRA was designed to help homeowners whose homes are worth significantly less than they owe by encouraging servicers and investors to reduce the amount you owe on your home. Click Here for more information.  
  • Treasury/FHA Second Lien Program (FHA2LP): If you have a second mortgage and the mortgage servicer of your first mortgage agrees to participate in FHA Short Refinance, you may qualify to have your second mortgage on the same home reduced or eliminated through FHA2LP. If the servicer of your second mortgage agrees to participate, the total amount of your mortgage debt after the refinance cannot exceed 115% of your home’s current value. Click Here for more information.

 Assistance for Unemployed Homeowners

  • Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP): If you are having a tough time making your mortgage payments because you are unemployed, you may be eligible for UP. UP provides a temporary reduction or suspension of mortgage payments for at least twelve months while you seek re-employment. Click Here for more information.
  • Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP):  Click Here for more information about EHLP assistance provided in your state.
  • FHA Special Forbearance: If you are having difficulty making mortgage payments because you are unemployed and have no other sources of income, you may be eligible for FHA's Special Forbearance.  FHA now requires servicers to extend the forbearance period, by offering a reduced or suspended mortgage payment for up to twelve months, for FHA borrowers who qualify for the program. Click Here for more information.

Managed Exit for Borrowers

  • Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA): If your mortgage payment is unaffordable and you are interested in transitioning to more affordable housing, you may be eligible for a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure through HAFA SM. Click Here for more information.
  • “Redemption”is a period after your home has already been sold at a foreclosure sale when you can still reclaim your home. You will need to pay the outstanding mortgage balance and all costs incurred during the foreclosure process.

Contact Your Lender

If you are experiencing difficulties making your mortgage payments, you are encouraged to contact your lender or loan servicer directly to inquire about foreclosure prevention options that are available. If you are experiencing difficulty communicating with your mortgage lender or servicer about your need for mortgage relief, there are organizations that can help by contacting lenders and servicers on your behalf. 

 

Assistance for FHA-Insured Homeowners

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is working aggressively to halt and reverse the losses represented by foreclosure. Through its  National Servicing Center (NSC), FHA offers a number of various loss mitigation programs and informational resources to assist FHA-insured homeowners and home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) borrowers facing financial hardship or unemployment and whose mortgage is either in default or at risk of default.

  • Click Here to log onto the NSC Loss Mitigation Programs home page.
  • Click Here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about FHA’s loss mitigation programs.

Contact FHA

FHA staff are available to help answer your questions and assist you to better understand your options as an FHA borrower under these loss mitigation programs. There are several ways you can contact FHA for more information, including:

  • Call the National Servicing Center at (877) 622-8525
  • Call the FHA Outreach Center at 1-800-CALL FHA (800-225-5342)
  • Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.
  • Email the FHA Resource Center
  • The Online FHA Resource Center

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Warning in EASTHAMPTON: Government Grant Scams

“Because you pay your income taxes on time, you have been awarded a free $12,500 government grant! To get your grant, simply give us your checking account information, and we will direct-deposit the grant into your bank account!”

Sometimes, it’s an ad that claims you will qualify to receive a “free grant” to pay for education costs, home repairs, home business expenses, or unpaid bills. Other times, it’s a phone call supposedly from a “government” agency or some other organization with an official sounding name. In either case, the claim is the same: your application for a grant is guaranteed to be accepted, and you’ll never have to pay the money back.

But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says that “money for nothing” grant offers usually are scams, whether you see them in your local paper or a national magazine, or hear about them on the phone.

Some scam artists advertise “free grants” in the classifieds, inviting readers to call a toll-free number for more information. Others are more bold: they call you out of the blue. They lie about where they’re calling from, or they claim legitimacy using an official-sounding name like the “Federal Grants Administration.” They may ask you some basic questions to determine if you “qualify” to receive a grant. FTC attorneys say calls and come-ons for free money invariably are rip offs.

Grant scammers generally follow a script: they congratulate you on your eligibility, then ask for your checking account information so they can “deposit your grant directly into your account,” or cover a one-time “processing fee.” The caller may even reassure you that you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied. In fact, you’ll never see the grant they promise; they will disappear with your money.

The FTC says following a few basic rules can keep consumers from losing money to these “government grant” scams:

  • Don’t give out your bank account information to anyone you don’t know. Scammers pressure people to divulge their bank account information so that they can steal the money in the account. Always keep your bank account information confidential. Don’t share it unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary.
  • Don’t pay any money for a “free” government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it isn’t really free. A real government agency won’t ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded — or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is www.grants.gov.
  • Look-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the caller says he’s from the “Federal Grants Administration” doesn’t mean that he is. There is no such government agency. Take a moment to check the blue pages in your telephone directory to bear out your hunch — or not.
  • Phone numbers can deceive. Some con artists use Internet technology to disguise their area code in caller ID systems. Although it may look like they’re calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
  • Take control of the calls you receive. If you want to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register online, visit donotcall.gov. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register.
  • File a complaint with the FTC. If you think you may have been a victim of a government grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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