The Florida Housing Finance Corp. will launch a pilot that delivers mortgage payment assistance to unemployed and underemployed homeowners. The program, whose costs will be covered by the U.S. Treasury Department's Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) for state housing finance agencies, will only be available in Lee County for a 90-day period.
‘Operating the pilot in Lee County gives us a representative sampling of homeowners for which the Hardest-Hit funding was designed to help,’ says David Westcott, director of homeownership programs at Florida Housing. "We will use the information gathered from the pilot to ensure we are prepared for statewide implementation.’
Florida Housing has two HHF programs: the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP), which will provide up to 18 months of first-mortgage payments directly to servicers on behalf of unemployed/underemployed homeowners, and the Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment (MLRP) program, which will be used to bring a delinquent mortgage current for homeowners who have returned to work or have recovered from underemployment.
UMAP and MLRP program funds will be in the form of a 0%, deferred-payment loan; the loan can be forgiven over a five-year period, at a rate of 20% each year.
"As we move through the application and eligibility determination process during this pilot period, we will communicate with the large banks and loan servicers to keep them informed on the number of borrowers they have who may qualify for this assistance," explains Steve Auger, executive director at Florida Housing. "Our hope is that this information will be helpful to [the banks] as they determine how best to work with us as we prepare to take the program statewide early next year."
SOURCE: Florida Housing Finance Corp.