There are many federal and state assistance programs available to struggling homeowners. The problem is most people don’t know they exist or know who to seek out to help them. That means many ultimately don’t take advantage of very favorable opportunities. This point is illustrated in the under-use of a little known program is called the “Hardest Hit Fund.” It was launched by the Obama administration in 2010 to help homeowners in states that were flooded by the economic and housing market spiraling downward. Yet, in New Jersey only 168 households received assistance through the first quarter of 2012. Why so few? It seems that there is a great lack of awareness by states to inform the people that need help of all their options. Nonprofit family services in some states blame the fact that the program is under-utilized on insufficient advertisement by the states.
Some people may believe these programs are scams or they think since they have been turned down for help before that they will not qualify for new opportunities. Many may exclude themselves from seeking the information and assistance they need. The federal government lets states decide how to aim their Hardest Hit Funds; the unused portions will have to be returned to the U.S Treasury in 2017. To qualify for the program, in some states, applicants must be homeowners who are “responsible borrowers.” This means, just like many programs that are available to struggling homeowners to assist them in getting approved for a short sale, borrowers who are facing foreclosure must be doing so due to circumstances beyond their control, like unemployment, medical expenses, divorce or death of a spouse.
Of course this “Hardest Hit” fund is just one of many different programs by state and federal officials–and even lenders themselves–to help homeowners get a fresh start. For example, new rules continue to roll out regarding ways that lenders with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must respond to potential short sale offers to help underwater homeowners. It is crucial for those in all situations–whether you are behind on payments or not–to take advantage of the tools created to support them.
Importantly, local residents should remember that these various programs have many different requirements and aim to help in different ways. That means that if you tried to get help in the past but were rejected, that does not mean you will not qualify for something now. For example, some residents sought to work directly with their lenders on modifications in years past only to hit a dead-end. These residents may take the past failure as a reason not to pursue opportunities today. This is a mistake. While a modification may not work, another other, like a short sale, could be open.
The bottom line is that help is available, and you should reach out to a professional to see what can be done in your case. To get immediate assistance on moving forward with a better solution to your future, contact one of our Moorestown short sale lawyers.