By Layden Hale
While payments from Ohio’s federally funded “Save the Dream” mortgage assistance program are expected to end this summer, options remain for individuals still struggling financially and in fear of losing their home.
Oddly enough, the help could come from refinance programs homeowners were previously rejected -- most notably HAMP and HARP.
“Save the Dream” was initiated in 2010 when the federal government attempted to prevent millions of people from losing their homes as a result of “The Great Recession.”
Save The Dream funding was designed as a breather, covering mortgages up to 18 months. Eighty percent of the 25,000 participants were unemployed or underemployed. The average assistance was $17,489, according to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.
Those completing Save The Dream funding but not whole financially do have options. Homeport counselors know mortgage refinance programs that Save The Dream recipients may quality for, and can assist in filling out paperwork.
With HARP, Home Affordable Refinance Program, refinancing can save homeowners up to $2,400 a year on average.
HARP has changed so that the value of your home is not a factor in refinancing. If your home has lost value since purchase, or you are “underwater” – meaning your mortgage is greater than the home value -- you may qualify for HARP.
HAMP, the Home Affordable Modification Program, has changed too since it was rolled out in 2009. HAMP changes the length of your loan, interest rate and principal balance of your mortgage. HAMP modifications are intended to reduce your monthly mortgage payment to 31 percent of your gross (pre-tax) monthly income.
In each instance homeowners have a better chance of qualifying for HARP, HAMP or HAFA, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, because they have created a good mortgage payment history with funding from Save The Dream.
Contact Homeport and schedule an appointment with a Housing Advisory staff member to learn your options. We can’t guarantee a favorable outcome but at least you will be armed with the best information to move forward.
(Layden Hale is Senior Housing Advisor for Homeport. To schedule a free, one-on-one foreclosure prevention counseling session, call 614 221-8889 x 134.)