Families struggling to pay bills since spill learn about resources - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Families struggling to pay bills since oil leak learn about resources


By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Fishermen and others hit in the pocket books by the oil leak went looking for answers and resources. The Oil Spill Resources and Claims Fair in Biloxi was where people hoped to fixed solutions to their budget woes.

Dale Hall runs a sign company. He says many of his clients are in a financial pinch.

"A lot of the people that we deal with, business wise, is affected right now," said Hall. "They just don't have the means to keep the doors open. "

Some people who were managing okay, financially, before the oil leak are now finding they can't afford to pay the bills. That's why event organizers brought representatives for WIC, the Food Stamps program, private charities and others came to talk to people about how to apply for help.

"A lot of the community members are in desperate need of help," said Kaitlin Truong of Asian Americans for Change. "A lot of them are at the verge of losing their homes, losing their boats. They could barely provide food on the table."

Realtor Joe Nguyen is spreading the word about disaster mortgage deferrals that's not just for fishermen.

Nguyen said, "Right now there's a program sponsored by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You can contact your lender directly and ask if they can defer your loan for 90 days. If you need further, they're going to look at it in a case by case basis."

Organizers say these programs may not be permanent fixes, but they may help people get by for now.

"That will help you to focus on your life. In the meantime, waiting for BP to pay any claim, at least gives you a relief to make your life a little bit easier," said Nguyen.

Mississippi State University Extension Service has recommendations for people struggling financial from the oil spill.

  • Call all their creditors. Explain the situation and try to make payment arrangements.
  • Get all new payment arrangements in writing.
  • Take detailed notes of all phone conversations with creditors. Be sure to include the names of everyone you talk to.

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