LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A homeowner who nearly lost everything during the pandemic spoke with 8 News Now about finding hope during the housing crisis thanks to the help of a Las Vegas non-profit organization.
Ron Overton looked back on his move to Las Vegas in 1992, he said he brought his whole family with him.
He described his home as a space full of memories and fun until it became a place of worry.
“When the pandemic first hit, I lasted maybe six months before my money started to run out,” he recalled. “I’m leaning on my mom, calling friends, trying to get someone to move in with me. Anything I could do to save my house.”
Overton worked as a bartender on the Las Vegas Strip and said he was eventually able to get back to work. However, he was battling multiple sclerosis and at the time he said a lender wasn’t willing to work with him.
“My MS kicked in. I’m nervous. Stress is the worst thing for MS. It got to a point where I couldn’t work anymore,” he expressed.
Overton described that time as an exhausting battle.
“I reapplied at least forty times, that went on for two years,” he said. “I was at the end of my rope, I didn’t know what else to do. I was just calling anybody and everybody.”
Michelle Merced president of the Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada (NHSSN) was then able to assist him by cutting through the red tape.
“Even when I was giving up, she kept me going,” Overton recalled.
Merced said her staff is small but mighty and told 8 News Now they work hard for the community because they understand how important it is to have a foundation.
“It’s not just a house to some people,” she added. “My dad would always say, it’s the American dream to live here in the United States and to have a house.”
Merced admitted that homeowners have their work cut out for them.
“We’re already starting to see an uptick for a request in foreclosure counseling, so we want to get ahead of that,” she said.
In addition to foreclosure prevention, NHSSN works to help with homebuyer education, downpayment assistance and pre and post-purchase counseling, and affordable units.
“Today, we own and manage about 159 units that are scattered around the valley, these are affordable housing,” she added.
Merced believes the need for housing is great and told 8 News Now that the state has a shortage of about 85,000 affordable units.
For Overton, it took years of saving to achieve his dream of homeownership but nearly lost it all when the pandemic hit.
“This house was everything to me, it was my retirement,” he added.
Once more it is, thanks to NHSSN he told 8 News Now.
“This is my oasis, this is where I like to hang out,” he expressed.
For those interested in learning more about the free services NHSSN offers, click here.