Families Coping: Intrepid family forestalls water shutoff

Reported by Jonathan Walsh email

Posted by Kate Oatis email

(WTOL) - The Ruiz family has a world of financial responsibilities that seem impossible to maintain. But, when the city threatened to shut off the family's water because of the unpaid $1,100 bill, Abelino and Jeanne Ruiz got creative.

The family began using a Job and Family Services program called Prevention, Retention and Contingency (PRC) to help with the bill. And, after a couple of supervisors checked their case, it was decided the water will stay on for now.

Abelino says the lesson here for anyone in tough times is "don't hide from them. Call who you need to talk to and speak with somebody."

He also went to an orientation meeting where people facing foreclosure got help, information and advice, a good idea, according to Mike Marsh with the Fair Housing Center.

"We work with lenders and servicers to try and re-negotiate bad loans into affordable loans that benefit both the consumer and the lender," Marsh said. "There are a lot of resources out there. You have to make phone calls and do some footwork but it's definitely well worth it."

Meanwhile, Jeanne tracked down a part-time postion at Costco.

"I'm looking forward to any possibility now. I want to get out of the house and, of course, help with paying the bills so, yes, I'm very open to it."