There are a number of emergency mortgage assistance programs available in Maryland, most of which are run by local agencies. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs funds some of them, and this money can help homeowners who can no longer afford to pay their mortgage due a reduction in income or unemployment. Other aid is for families that are in a short term crisis situation. The reduction in income may be from the loss of a job, a cut in salary, a reduction in work hours, or a medical emergency that prevents someone from working.
The federal government as well as non-profit money will allow Maryland to offer zero percent interest loans to homeowners anywhere in the state who are failing to pay their mortgage or related fees. Or there may be emergency foreclosure counseling arranged or other services. When funds are available, the loans can even help someone pay taxes, their home insurance, or other related expenses. So their is some flexibility in how the funds can be used. Learn more about getting help with property taxes.
The terms and conditions vary. Some of the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Programs are run by the Department of Social Services and others are offered by so called Crisis Funds. When money is available, the agencies will offer borrowers in Maryland a zero percent, declining balance, deferred payment bridge loan with a maximum in place.
As indicated, the funds will be used for a variety of reasons, but the majority of it will help eligible homeowners with paying their mortgage. The money can be used for payments of arrears, including delinquent home insurance bills, property and real estate taxes and insurance. In addition the loan can be used for up to 24 months of monthly payments on their primary mortgage principal, interest, insurance, taxes, and hazard insurance.
There will be some qualifications that the homeowner needs to meet in order to be found eligible for this emergency government funded program. They include the homeowners must have been up to date with their mortgage payments prior to the reduction in income or unemployment, the loan must be for their primary home, and they need to have a reasonable chance to resume payments once they get back on their feet.
For those agencies that help the underemployed, the income reduction needs to be fairly significant. While the range can vary and be reset over time, in general the homeowner needs to have had a reduction in income of at least 15%. Not only that, but they need to have the ability to increase it again over time and resume paying their home loan on their own.
In addition, the borrower needs to be at 3-12 months delinquent on their home mortgage payments and they also need to be pending a foreclosure filing. The applicant also needs to meet overall income levels and be considered low to moderate income by standards set by the state on Maryland. So this emergency assistance/loan program is not intended to go to help high wage earners, even if they are facing a short term hardship.
While the demand for assistance is very high, unfortunately only a small number of homeowners will be able to qualify before funding runs it. The program is usually funded annually, so even if the money runs out in one year it may be replenished in another. However those who are found eligible should have a very good chance of preventing a foreclosure of their primary residence.
The Emergency Mortgage Assistance program may start in December and funding is limited. To see if it is available in your community, try a non-profit agency such as United Communities Against Poverty, Inc. or the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. Click here to find local agencies to contact in Maryland for assistance.
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