In the United States today, 2.3 million grandparents are responsible for raising their grandchildren, and almost half of those grandparents are 60 years old or older according to census data.

David and his wife, Karen, have been the primary caregivers of their two teenage granddaughters since the girls were very young. Making ends meet isn’t always easy. (David is shown above with his granddaughter, Madison)

The family of four lives off David’s retirement benefits and Social Security. “It’s not easy feeding two kids and trying to get by,” says David.

David is also a disabled Vietnam Veteran who retired from the US Post Office years ago.

A savings safety net isn’t something this family has the luxury to afford, and things took a turn for the worse during the pandemic.

First, they had to unexpectedly replace the roof of their house. Then, David also contracted COVID-19 several times. After he was hospitalized for more than a week, the family fell behind on the mortgage.

As they were working to catch up, the mortgage company added on additional fees: late fees and interest, but the bulk of the new debt came from having his case referred to the legal department. David and his family now had to pay the mortgage company’s legal fees.

Suddenly, instead of being a few thousand dollars behind, they owed $10,000 and were facing foreclosure. “There was no way we could catch up then,” says David.

David contacted the mortgage company to work out a payment plan but got nowhere. “The mortgage companies say they want to help you, but they don’t. I filled out all the paperwork and mailed it to them. They said they didn’t get it. Then I spent $45 faxing all the paperwork to them again. Again, they say they didn’t get it.”

David says he never thought Pisgah Legal Services was for “people like them,” but he took a chance and asked for help, even though it wasn’t easy for him. “We were about to lose the house, and I didn’t know where else to go.”

“I was lost and didn’t think we could make it,” says David. “But the next thing I know I have an attorney in court helping me. They saved my house.”

Pisgah Legal Services Attorney Molly Maynard reviewed David’s application and accompanied him to court. She says, “He has been managing so much- illnesses, caring for family, and unexpectedly needing a new roof. Then he ended up dealing with this foreclosure situation on top of all that.”

She continues, “When David came to Pisgah Legal, he’d been doing all the right things and already tried several other avenues that hadn’t worked out. He had tried to get help from Veterans Services and others and almost didn’t call us. I know in some ways he was reluctant to ask for help, but I’m really grateful that he called us and that we’re able to help him navigate this process and to advocate for him.”

Molly contacted the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund, a special fund created by American Rescue Plan, that assists qualified NC homeowners experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic and applied on the family’s behalf.  

In September, Molly learned they were approved for aid; not only their mortgage would be caught up – including the late fees and legal fees – they were given until February to make their next mortgage payment. It was just in time. Molly believes the Fund is almost empty and will be by the end of the year.

David and his family were overwhelmed with their good fortune. He says, “It feels good. We almost couldn’t believe it. We’ve never had anyone help us like this before.”

He adds, “I’m taking full advantage of this blessing. I’m going to get caught up on everything. And we’re going to have a real Christmas this year.”

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