Homeownership Tips & Tales

Stopping Foreclosure: Assistance for the Unemployed & Underemployed

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There are many reasons why a homeowner may be concerned about foreclosure.  It could be that you lost your job and are worried about how to make payments; perhaps your interest rates are too high for you to keep up with; maybe you need to move or leave your home in a hurry; or you may just be struggling to make your mortgage payment. Over the next three weeks, we will address each of these reasons for foreclosure threat and the assistance programs available for each.

Unemployment and Foreclosure 
Losing a job can be a scary time, and in today's economy, not something extremely uncommon. Whether your company has downsized, you just got laid off or you find yourself out of work for another reason you didn't sign up for, the last thing you need is to worry about how to pay all your bills. Yet, that is probably at the top of your concerns.

Through the Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP), you could be eligible for a temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments for up to 12 months or more while you search for a new job.

There is also assistance that could be available through the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF), which actually makes your mortgage payments for you during your job search process.

How do I qualify for the Home Affordable Unemployment Program? 
According to Making Home Affordable, the government agency that administers the program, you may qualify for the program if you are: Unemployed and are eligible for unemployment benefits; the home is your primary residence; and you owe up to $729,750 on your home.

The site also advises that these criteria are for guidance only. To be certain of your eligibility, you should contact a foreclosure counseling agency, like NeighborWorks® Columbus.   
Through this program, your mortgage payments could be reduced to 31 percent of your income, even if your income is unemployment benefits, or suspended payments.

What about assistance from the Hardest Hit Fund? 
HHF is available in both Alabama and Georgia for homeowners who have lost their jobs. Each state has different requirements, so it is best to contact a free counseling agency to determine if your specific situation applies.

You can find more information about each state's programs on their sites Homesafe Georgia and Hardest Hit Alabama.

I think I may be eligible. What should I do next? 
Call or contact NeighborWorks® Columbus. The non-profit offers free foreclosure counseling services and will help you determine how to proceed.  Always remember to choose an agency that offers free foreclosure counseling, as it's not guaranteed you will qualify for any aid.

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Holli Melancon 



Tags: foreclosure solutions, avoiding foreclosure, foreclosure prevention, affordable homes, foreclosure assistance, foreclosure assistance in Georgia, foreclosure assistance in Alabama