“We were paying the mortgage, but my husband grew
ill,” Harley said. “He was diagnosed with multiple melanoma, which is cancer of the bone marrow. He lost
the function of his kidneys, so he couldn’t go back to
work. He’s still fighting it. We’re waiting for a bone
Facing daunting medical bills, Harley was ready to
give up on homeownership.
“I told Cheryl, ‘If I have to I’ll lose my house. I don’t
care. My husband’s life is more important,’” Harley
said. “She said, ‘No, no, you don’t have to lose your
house.’ I said, ‘How am I going to pay the medical
bills? You planning on a raise for me?’”
Lambert told Harley about Hardest Hit, a federal
program that provides mortgage relief to low-income
homeowners dealing with catastrophic illness. Lambert helped the Harleys apply for the program, and
they were accepted. Hardest Hit is paying the Harley’s
mortgage in full for 18 months while they struggle to
pay for her husband’s treatment.
“The Good Lord brought me here for a reason,” Harley
said. “No words can explain to you how grateful I am
to Cheryl. She’s amazing.”
Lambert, who has focused in her career on affordable
housing, said the 2014 Florida REALTORS® Helping
the Homeless: REALTORS® Believe campaign raised
her awareness of homelessness in Florida and motivated
her to get involved in helping people like the Harleys.
The REALTORS® Believe campaign was a priority
of Sherri Meadows, an Ocala REALTOR® who was
president of Florida REALTORS® in 2014. Florida
REALTORS® presidents traditionally pick a charity for the association to support during their terms.
“I said I don’t want to just raise money for a charity,
‘Hardest Hit” is a federal program that provides mortgage relief
to low-income homeowners dealing with catastrophic illness.
I want to raise awareness,” Meadows said. “Maybe there’s
an opportunity to reduce homelessness in our state.”
Meadows said her concern for the homeless was motivated by a favorite Mark Twain quote and a chance
meeting with a homeless man who told her he wanted
to be somebody. The Twain quote was “The two most
important days in your life are the day you are born and
the day you find out why.”
“My why I found out back in 2007,” Meadows said.
“I was president of the Florida chapter of the Women’s
Council of REALTORS® and one particular day I was
speaking in Tampa. After that meeting a gentleman
walked up to me and said ‘I want you to know that your
theme, imagining, believing and achieving, impacted
me. I feel like you’ve given me hope.’”
The 2014 Florida REALTORS® Helping
the Homeless: REALTORS® Believe
campaign raised awareness
of homelessness in Florida.
Photo by BXGD
(Below) 2014 Florida
Sherri Meadows speaks at
the Housing Matters Summit.