State of Florida Foreclosure Help Programs
Despite the huge number of Florida home foreclosures, the state government has done virtually nothing to help distressed homeowners stop foreclosures. Unfortunately for Florida residents, Governor Scott’s business first people don’t matter attitude comes during the worst financial crisis since the great depression. (By the way,what was so “great” about record poverty and people jumping off buildings anyway?)
However, the federal government has literally forced the state to accept some assistance through the U.S. Treasury Department’s “Hardest Hit-Fund” which originally targeted 5 states including Florida and has since expanded to 18 states and D.C. Florida alone has received more than 1 billion dollars of assistance through this program. Florida in the Center of the Foreclosure Crisis
In addition, the recent nationwide Foreclosure Settlement is expected to bring more than $8 billion dollars of relief for Florida residents in the form of loan modifications and money for families wrongly displaced by lenders and improper foreclosure methods. Although neither package addresses the underlying causes of the housing meltdown nor provides long term remedies, there’s at least short term cash available for many homeowners and Save The Cave will continue to monitor the Settlement to help you get as much of your share as possible. More About the Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement.
How the “Hardest Hit” Program Can Help Stop Florida Foreclosures
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation was literally forced by the Treasury Department to use some of the money specifically for unemployment programs that help eligible homeowners to stop foreclosures. It’s not really clear what happens to the rest of the money, but I’m sure we can trust the people in Tallahassee to spend it well and in a way nobody understands.
As a result, and in spite of the governor’s resistance to help anyone who doesn’t own a private jet, two programs were created — the UNEMPLOYMENT MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (UMAP) and the MORTGAGE LOAN REINSTATEMENT PAYMENT PROGRAM (MLRP), both of which center around unemployment and continued home ownership for the few lucky beneficiaries of the programs.
UMAP, Unemployment Mortgage Assistance provides up to 6 months of mortgage payments on your first mortgage to help unemployed and underemployed homeowners get back on your feet and eventually resume your own payments. The maximum payment under this stop foreclosure program is $12,000.
MLRP, Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment provides money to bring past due mortgages current up to a maximum of $6,000 for homeowners who have “returned to work or recovered from underemployment”, whatever that actually means.
As you might expect from government programs, the eligibility rules are somewhat confusing and in many instances misguided. However, something is better than nothing and the state funded stop foreclosure programs certainly help if you can weave your way through the maze of requirements.
Both programs apply solely to Florida residents who own a home but don’t own any more than that one property. Some of the additional restrictions include not being past 180 days late on your mortgage, your home’s value must be at least half of the loan value (which eliminates many underwater mortgages) and for those involved in the UMAP program, you must pay 25% of your monthly income toward the monthly mortgage payment with a minimum of $70/month.
Results of the program have been less than stellar. As of late 2011, a mere 1,202 homeowners have been approved by both the state and their lender from a total of 7,882 applications. That’s a 70% rejection rate with most of the denials resulting from too many late payments or ineligible hardships, which are very hard to define and subject to excessive discretion on the part of the people deciding your economic fate. What may not look like a hardship from the outside may be much more serious in reality but not covered directly by their hardship “guidelines.”
The flip side is that 30% of applicants are getting some type of assistance so its worth a try for sure. The only way to know if you qualify is by logging on to the Florida Housing website and applying online at www.FLHardestHitHelp.Org. so get to it! Good Luck and be careful to avoid scams as this is the ONLY authorized website to file applications for the Florida Stop Foreclosure Programs.