PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Earlier this week we told you about possible changes coming to "Florida's Hardest Hit" fund. The goal is to extend that lifeline a little longer so participants, who are usually unemployed or under-employed, don't fall back behind.
It could be just the thing to save Margaret Poole, a highly-decorated Air Force Major in Palm Beach Gardens, from losing her home.
Poole moved to the United States from Jamaica in 1988. She raised three children and put herself through nursing school. Eight years after becoming a U.S. citizen, she decided to serve her country.
"When I joined the Air Force I knew it was my calling and that's what I wanted to do," Poole said.
She served as a nurse on tours of duty in Germany and Iraq while studying to become a nurse practitioner. While still in the Air Force Reserves, Poole started working at a private practice in Wellington. Just as she was to be deployed again, she lost her job.
"I thought that I had enough going for me as a nurse practitioner, but it didn't happen that way."
She ended up not deploying to Germany because of an injury. And it wasn't long before Poole got behind on her mortgage. She turned to Hardest Hit for help.
“He said ‘you qualify.’ And I said, 'I did?' He said, ‘you know one would think you are rich because you're living in this nice home, but you qualify, you are poor.’ ”
Even with the help, Poole said it won't be enough to save her home.
"I'm still up for foreclosure because of the back money that I didn't pay for the previous six months."
But there is a chance "Hardest Hit" could come through again.
There are new guidelines in the works that would extend help to one year, instead of the current six months. It could also give homeowners up to $18,000 to catch up on back payments. Right now the limit is $6,000.
"So to know that this benefit is there for me and it goes six months from here on out, I'm sure I'm going to make a 180 degree turn to get back on my feet again quickly."
Poole said she hopes Americans, like her, know help is out there, and worth the fight. And Poole is close to a rebound. She just got three job offers. She's making her decision soon.
Meanwhile, we could find out as soon as this month if the U.S. Treasury Department approves the changes to the Hardest Hit fund.
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