Revisions and updates to Florida Hardest Hit Fund.

The Florida Hardest Hit Fund is being modified so that a larger number of homeowners could potentially be assisted. Several new rules and changes are being put into place to make the program less restrictive to applicants.

The government organization that is leading the changes to the $1 billion program is the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC). A summary of the enhancements and revisions include the following. Or call 1-(877) 863-5244.

  • Homeowners in Florida who currently owe more than twice as much as their home’s current value will now be eligible for assistance from the hardest hit fund.
  • Borrowers that are significantly behind on their payments may now be eligible. For example, if you are more than 180 days behind on your current home loan then you may be qualified for help, if your bank or mortgage servicer agrees.
  • If you apply and are found to be eligible, then mortgage payment assistance for unemployed and other struggling borrowers will be increased. The maximum amount of aid will double from six months to 12 months, and the maximum payment provided can now also double to $24,000.
  • Mortgage loans that are originated after 2008 will now be eligible for the assistance program.
  • If you have an overdue balance on your mortgage, then the total amount of lump sum financial assistance to help pay overdue mortgage balances will increase up to almost $25,000.
  • If you own a condo and not a free standing home, there is no longer a requirement that condo owners in Florida that are participating in the hardest hit fund belong to a condo building that is approved by Federal Housing Association or Fannie Mae.





These changes should allow thousands of additional homeowners to benefit from the Florida Hardest Hit Fund. The program will be much less restrictive, and the state was provided about one billion dollars to distribute to borrowers. So these changes should help that money flow to those who need help.

As an example, so far only about 5,500 homeowners have received direct mortgage payment assistance from the Florida Hardest Hit Fund. However tens of thousands of others have applied but were either rejected or discouraged from applying due to the program’s strict eligibility rules. Many of those who were rejected will now be able to receive help with these latest changes.

The state thinks that these latest updates are great news and they should be very helpful to a lot of Hardest Hit Fund applicants and even current participants. This should open the doors to a significantly greater number of homeowners to receive help.

To recap the goal of this resource, it is paid for by the federal government, and was intended to offer two primary forms of help to the needy and people who are faced with a foreclosure. It can offer lump sum aid to help borrowers catch up on past-due mortgage bills, and also provide monthly mortgage payment assistance to borrowers suffering from financial hardship such as a medical emergency or unemployment.

So while there were great intentions behind the program and it was intended to help tens of thousands of Florida homeowners, only about 5,500 people qualified as of June 2012. In addition, only about 100 million of the total allotment of $1 billion has been paid out. The restrictions that were in place caused much of this.

So the Florida Housing Finance Corporation is pushing for changes and enhancements to the hardest hit fund. As an example, scrapping the restriction on the 6-month cap on mortgage delinquency should open up the resource to tens of thousands of more people. That means homeowners who are more than six months behind on their current home loans would now be able to qualify under the new rules for help.

The effort to raise limits on how much aid homeowners can receive will make a big impact as well. The doubling of financial aid to unemployed borrowers to $24,000 and tripling mortgage catch-up assistance to $25,000 will make a big difference in the effectiveness.






By Jon McNamara

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