Working with families at risk of losing their homes can be a daunting and stressful experience for all involved. Unfortunately not all families qualify for a loan modification program and require assistance in creating a graceful exit strategy that is right for them. But when I am able to help a family save their home, I get to witness their joy, tears and heartfelt gratitude; this is the greatest reward for a housing counselor. In my line of work I have met with many clients, a number of whom possess limited English skills, some have experienced predatory lending practices, or have been taken advantage of by loan rescue scams. Meeting with a housing counselor can provide much needed relief of knowing there is a trusted source and advocate working to help them in their time of need.
It is an honor to have been selected as a White House Champion of Change. I started in the non-profit housing industry 17 years ago as a volunteer with a desire to help those in need. I began my career as a community organizer helping families improve and reinvest in their communities through programs offered by Neighborhood Housing Services of Orange County.
Today, I work as a Certified Foreclosure Intervention Counselor and Housing Coordinator for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County where I counsel families facing foreclosure crisis, and facilitate workshops in English and Spanish. Established 46 years ago, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County is a non-profit HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency that offers several types of counseling and workshops for consumers seeking financial stability.
I am also a founding member of the Orange County Home Ownership Preservation Collaborative (OCHOPC), a partnership of non-profit, government, and business leaders committed to promoting and preserving the dream of home ownership through outreach, education, counseling, and financing opportunities. This collaborative started as a grassroots task force formed in 2007 to address the foreclosure crisis and today the organization is a nonprofit corporation that has more than 100 partner members in various areas of the housing industry.
I have a great passion for helping families navigate the foreclosure prevention process through education and advocacy efforts. When asked “How’s it going at work?” my response is always the same, “Saving America, one house a time”.
Stella Matadama serves as a Certified Foreclosure Intervention Counselor and Housing Coordinator for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County.