Rebecca Moniz, a broker associate with Weichert, Realtors – Cress & Co., has prevented military families in her community from losing their homes – and the National Association of Realtors has taken notice. She was recently selected as a one of the 10 finalists for Realtor Magazine’s 2013 Good Neighbor Awards.
Moniz volunteers with The Rhode Island Military Family Programs and the Rhode Island Association of Realtors Troop Support Task Force, both of which aid military families during times of deployment.
In October, five of the finalists will be selected to receive national exposure, travel to the 2013 Realtors Conference & Expo in San Francisco and a $10,000 grant for their community cause.
PBN: What kind of resources do you provide through the Rhode Island Military Family Program?
MONIZ: When we started in 2008 our role was to find a way to support the families while a loved one was deployed. It evolved into educating them about retaining their homes after deployment. They were coming home to a high unemployment rate and an economy that no longer supported the value of their home and loan-modification scams were rampant. Our role falls into the “go-to” organization for answers regarding anything home-related. Now [I] help organize events for the families left behind. I also created a veteran-specific homebuyer seminar.
PBN: Why do you think it is so critical for service members to be educated about homeownership and other offerings through the Troop Support Task Force?
MONIZ: It is our duty to resource [veterans] to a trusted entity when they return home and are trying to reintegrate to civilian life. There are fraudulent companies that are “pay upfront” for loan modifications, and short sales. We have plenty resources to prevent them from falling prey to those scams, no matter which war they served in or during. We schedule veteran-specific seminars twice a year on how to hire a Realtor, the process of buying a home and applying for a mortgage.
PBN: How did you find out about the behavioral problems children suffer from their parents’ military deployment overseas and what did you do to address your discoveries?
MONIZ: Our first meeting as the newly formed task force was with Laura Paton, the past youth coordinator for Joint Services of the National Guard and Reserve. She read about Military Childhood Education Coalition and recognized the need in Rhode Island. The [coalition] educates guidance counselors and administrators of these behaviors and how to address them. The Troop Support Task Force raised $15,000 to bring the [program] here and coordinated with the R.I. Department of Education to make a professional-development day open to all the cities and town. •