This Thursday, March 1, the White House will honor Ruben Andrade Jr. and Stella Matadama as part of the administration’s Champions of Change initiative.  This week, Andrade and Matadama will join nine others who are being honored as leaders in housing counseling.

According to a press release from the White House, “Housing counseling assistance was developed over 40 years ago at a time of severe disinvestment in housing, unaffordable interest rates, high unemployment and irresponsible lending practices.”  Sadly, it sounds like the country is in a similar place, but this week the administration is honoring the people who are fighting to keep people in their homes and educating others on how they can responsibly become home owners.

Ruben Andrade Jr., of Waco, Texas, is a bilingual Home Ownership Specialist at NeighborWorks where he counsels and educates future homeowners, and helps existing homeowners avoid foreclosure. He is being recognized for counseling over 500 families in the past four years in Texas.

Stella Matadama works in Santa Ana, California as a Certified Foreclosure Intervention Counselor and Housing Coordinator.  She facilitates workshops on how to avoid foreclosure along with counseling individuals on a personal basis. Matadama also helped in founding the Orange County Home Ownership Preservation, and has a background in community organizing and first time homebuyer education.

Given the unprecedented number of people in the United States who have lost their homes, are at risk of having their homes foreclosed upon, or are upside-down on their mortgages, individuals like Andrade and Matadama really make a difference in the lives of ordinary folk.

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