Congratulations to winners of the Outstanding Symposium Poster Award!

2018: Erica Tobe & Robert Weber

Many US households experience the process of foreclosure. To offer support to these struggling families, some local communities, in partnership with the federal government, non-profits, and state housing authorities, offer foreclosure counseling and prevention services to struggling homeowners. In one Midwestern community, a unique partnership has emerged between a local HUD-certified housing counseling agency and the local Treasurer’s Office to provide financial counseling to all homeowners who are three years’ delinquent on property taxes and facing foreclosure. Each participant is offered a 12-month extension on repaying their delinquent bill if they agree to enter counseling and receive education from a HUD-certified counseling agency and make timely monthly payments. This poster evaluates the effectiveness of the counseling intervention 265 clients over a two-year period to see if participants who received education and counseling from a HUD certified counselor are better able to repay their delinquent payment and avoid property tax foreclosure. Key demographics and financial ratios have been evaluated. Using these factors, the findings will help predict if a client was successful in repaying their debt to the Treasurer’s Office. Implications for future research and practitioner guidelines have been generated to support practitioners to better work with this vulnerable population.

Dr. Erica Tobe is an MSU Extension Specialist (30% FTE) and Assistant Professor (20% FTE) in family economics. In addition, she is the Graduate Program Director (50% FTE) for the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Her MSU Extension primary programming responsiblities include research and curriculum development support for the Greening Michigan Institute and the Financial and Home Ownership Education team. Current research and curriculum development interests focus on family financial health and wellbeing across the lifespan, including research focused on family finance and housing/foreclosure prevention programming. Dr. Tobe is the current chair of the eXtension Financial Security for All Community of Practice and the 2018 Presidentfor the Michigan Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences. Prior to this position, Tobe served as an Educator and Program Leader with Michigan State University Extension for 12 years.

Mr. Robert Weber has been a Financial and Homeownership Educator with Michigan State University’s Cooperative Extension for nearly five years. During his tenure as a certified housing counselor, he has had a special focus on working with homeowners facing property tax foreclosure. He is a recent graduate of University of Detroit Mercy’s Master of Community Development program, where his thesis on Community Land Trusts outlined how CLTs can create equitable control over community assets and preserve affordable housing. Robert is currently working towards certification in Financial Fitness Coaching through AFCPE.

2017: Emily Koochel

Emily Koochel is a PhD student at Kansas State University, and a graduate teaching assistant in the Applied Family Science program. Her research interests include financial transparency and financial management strategies as it relates to marital satisfaction, pre-marital financial counseling and financial disclosure as predictors of marital dissolution. In 2011, Emily received her BS in Financial Planning from Kansas State University, her MS in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University in 2013, and MS in Family Studies and Human Services in 2017 from Kansas State University.

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