Despite having the country’s worst foreclosure rates, Florida has been cited as having the lowest distribution rates of federal funds aimed at helping homeowners facing foreclosure. According to an October 6, 2015 report by the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Florida has failed to help as many homeowners as was expected at the creation of the Hardest Hit Fund, with only about 20 percent of applying homeowners receiving assistance. The report links lack of federal oversight as part of the reason for Florida’s failure.
Hardest Hit Fund
Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund is an assistance program that was created in 2010; at first covering five states, and later expanding to 18. The program is run through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and works as a foreclosure prevention assistance program for eligible homeowners, providing temporary monetary assistance to help meet mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure. Since 2010, Florida has received approximately $1 billion to assist struggling homeowners who apply through the program.
There are two main programs through which unemployed or underemployed homeowners can receive assistance:
The Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program
Under this program, the money is paid to the mortgage lender in order to cover payments owed by a qualifying homeowner. The homeowner receives assistance for 12 months or up to a total of $25,000 to help them keep up with their mortgage payments. Up to $18,000 of the funds can be used to help the homeowner catch up if they have missed payments and are behind on a mortgage.
Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment (MLRP) Program
Under this program, eligible homeowners who are behind on their mortgages can receive a one-time award of $25,000 to help them catch up. If the homeowner owes more than $25,000 in missed payments, he or she has to find a way to make up the rest of the money to get their mortgage current.
Some of the requirements to qualify for assistance include: the mortgage covers the homeowner’s primary residence; the residence is located in Florida; the home is not abandoned, vacant or condemned; and the homeowner is experiencing a financial hardship through no fault of their own. There are additional income and residency requirements for applicants.
Other Options for Struggling Homeowners
In addition to foreclosure assistance payments such as those discussed above, homeowners may also seek loan modification services to try and avoid foreclosure. However, when doing so, homeowners should be careful to avoid scams that may charge fees and offer no real solutions. Under Florida law, loan modification providers are required to be licensed, provide a written contract explaining the homeowner’s rights, and should not charge any up-front fees until the homeowner receives some benefit from the loan modification. Speaking to an attorney or your mortgage lender before seeking mortgage rescue or modification services elsewhere can help a struggling homeowner avoid a scam.
Contact a North Miami Foreclosure Attorney
If you are facing foreclosure, it is important to seek an experienced foreclosure defense attorney to protect your interests. Contact the North Miami foreclosure attorneys at Charlip Law Group, L.C. for a consultation on your case.