The Arizona Department of Housing estimates half of all Arizona homeowners are underwater. "Underwater" means you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth but there is some help courtesy of a state program run with money from the Federal Government.
Cookie Coleman bought her North Phoenix home in 2006 for $160,000. Two years later the market crashed and her home was worth $44,000. Then Cookie had a heart attack and had to leave her job. She went back to work making less.
High mortgage, low income, things looked bad for Cookie. "You know I did not see a light at the end of the tunnel for retirement or anything for me because I was so upside down on this house" said Cookie.
Then Cookie found out about "Save Our Home Arizona" a 3 year-old program ran by the State of Arizona and funded with federal money.
"They originally identified the five hardest hit states hit by the foreclosure and Arizona was one of those" said Michael Trailor the director of the Arizona Department of Housing.
The program paid off her second mortgage and worked with her bank. Cookie's mortgage, $740 a month at one time is now $293. For this grandmother of eight that is very good news.
"It is so important for me to have a place for them to lay their heads when they come and visit me and they have opened doors for me that I thought were all closed" said Cookie.
The program has helped 2,500 families but some big banks don't participate in it, most notable Chase Bank. The Department of Housing would like more cooperation from banks so the program could help more people.