Maria I. Rivera
Housing Counseling Director
Maria has provided homeownership, education and counseling services since 2005. Over the years, she’s received training from NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC) and NeighborWorks America. Maria holds numerous certifications, including, Foreclosure Intervention and Default Counseling, Homeownership Counseling Certification, Post-Purchase Homeownership Education, Pre-Purchase Homeownership Education, Rental Housing Counseling and she is HUD Certified Counselor.
In addition, Maria holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Springfield College, School of Human Services.
When did you join NEST?
Why did you decide to join NEST?
I joined NEST because of my desire to educate and help individuals and families in the community.
What is it about NEST that has kept you engaged with our work/mission?
What has kept me engaged with NEST is the work that is being done to assist individuals and families to become financially savvy, to help families build generational wealth through our educational programs, and to ensure that we assist as many families to remain in their homes and avoid foreclosure.
Please share a memory or story from your time at NEST.
One interaction that really hit my core was with a foreclosure client – we worked with her for 3 years. Her story began with a loss of employment due to a fall at her job. Her employer was unwilling to continue paying worker’s compensation after a year or acknowledge negligence. She was unable to pay her mortgage and her delinquent balance grew. She had multiple surgeries and was unable to return to work. She fought diligently to get social security while also dealing with the mortgage company. Her husband although he had a steady income, was not on the loan and the mortgage company would not use his income to modify the loan. In addition, she was experiencing some personal issues with her children. She was overwhelmed, to say the least. She was eventually served with foreclosure papers after we submitted countless documentation and financial packages - another battle she had to fight. After a long battle with both social security and the mortgage company, she finally won! She was awarded social security benefits and her mortgage company approved her for a modification that was still affordable based on her benefit award. She was able to secure services for her children and was back on track with her mortgage payments. I share her story because of her perseverance, and her dedication to providing her children with a safe place to call home. She never gave up; she fought a battle she never thought she would win. She’s very thankful for the work that we did together. She said she didn’t know what she would have done if NEST didn’t help her through this process. She was appreciative and thankful for the services that we provided at NEST. We must remember to be kind, have empathy, and be a listening ear for someone. You just never know what someone is going through.
Looking forward, what are your greatest hopes for the future of NEST?
My greatest hope for NEST is to see through all the real estate development projects in our pipeline, the Adam Street project, the Food Truck Park, etc. And that we continue to build our real estate development portfolio. Furthermore, we expand our educational programs.
What are 3+ things you like to do in your spare time?
I love my family time; I have a love for music (it soothes my soul) and I love to hike.