MILLCREEK — A Utah family was shocked to discover that automatic budget cuts caused by the sequester put a stop to their home loan.
A HUD program designed to help Native Americans seemed like the one thing that would make home ownership possible for the Cohoe Family. But like so many other federal programs losing out to the sequester, the family found the money was suddenly gone, just days before closing.
Michael Cohoe and his wife Kira caught a skit on "Saturday Night Live" that focused on the budget cuts and the sequestration.
You realize it's all real. Everything that is happening is affecting your neighbor. It's affecting you.
"We were laughing and thought, it's a funny joke," said Kira.
Little did they realize that part of the skit was actually about them.
"You realize it's all real," Kira said. "Everything that is happening is affecting your neighbor. It's affecting you."
The Cohoes had made on offer on a Cottonwood Heights home through a special FHA loan that offers Native Americans a lower interest rate and fewer up-front costs.
"Initially costs us a lot less than if we were to go the conventional route," said Michael.
Then, just a week away from closing, they found themselves without a loan due to federal funding cuts to the program.
The Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program is a home mortgage specifically designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families, Alaska Villages, Tribes, or Tribally Designated Housing Entities. Section 184 loans can be used, both on and off native lands, for new construction, rehabilitation, purchase of an existing home, or refinance. (Source: HUD)
"That dream was basically taken away from us at that moment," said Kira. "It was really hard."
So far, the cuts will not affect similar FHA loans for veterans. The Cohoes said they realized since cuts to their program affect a relatively small group, the money may be gone forever.
"We're going to apply for an FHA and hopefully get approved, but right now that's our only option," Michael said.
Michael and Kira said they hoped more people would realize how far reaching the effects of the sequester can really be.
"It's just frustrating because the politicians are using people as bargaining tools," said Michael.
Even if the Cohoes are approved for a new loan, they said they'll likely end up paying around $300 more a month then they had anticipated.
Michael Cohoe started an online petition aimed at the president on change.org in an effort to restore funding to the program.