'Save The Dream' Returns

Homeport Counselor Kerrick Jackson meets with Save The Dream client.

Homeport Counselor Kerrick Jackson meets with Save The Dream client.

Homeport Counselors To Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure

Homeport is once again helping Columbus area residents avoid foreclosure through the newly replenished “Save the Dream Ohio” rescue and mortgage payment assistance programs.

“If you are having trouble with your mortgage and have qualified for unemployment benefits on or after January 1, 2014, you should call to schedule a meeting with one of our counselors,” said Netta Whitman, director of Homeport’s Housing Advisory Services.

Funds from Save the Dream Ohio, under the operations of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), can cover past due mortgage bills and provide up to nine months of ongoing mortgage payments.

The amount of assistance can reach $35,000.

“Homeport will receive referrals from OHFA or we can refer clients to apply,” Whitman said. “We assist the client with submitting the application, provided all program requirements have been met.  OHFA will determine final eligibility and contact your mortgage servicer for acceptance.”

Save the Dream Ohio was originally funded in 2010 by the Department of Treasury through the federal Hardest Hit Fund. It came as the nation, including Ohio, was reeling from The Great Recession that had destabilized employment and the real estate market.

Over 24,000 Ohio families were assisted before the Save the Dream funds were exhausted in 2015. Of those families, over 98 percent were able to retain their homes, according to OHFA.

Homeport Housing Advisory Services Director Netta Whitman

Homeport Housing Advisory Services Director Netta Whitman

During the first phase of Save the Dream Ohio, Homeport counselors helped 795 residents obtain $14.1 million in mortgage payment assistance. 

Congress authorized additional funding for the program in December 2015, and OHFA will be reopening on Sept. 26.

The $25 million allocated to the Save the Dream Ohio program will enable OHFA, through HUD approved counseling agencies like Homeport, to assist an estimated 2,000 homeowners.

Whitman expects a healthy demand.

“Unemployment is still an issue,” said Homeport’s Whitman. “People on unemployment still need help keeping their mortgages current.”

Homeowners may qualify for the latest round of Save The Dream Ohio if:

·       Their household income is below $112,375.

·       They owe less than $432,500 on their mortgage.

·       They have been awarded unemployment benefits since Jan. 1, 2014.

·       They have been discharged from any bankruptcies.

The maximum amount of assistance a homeowner could qualify for is $35,000, though the average amount is expected to be $14,400.

Homeport can assist homeowners with Save the Dream Ohio applications beginning Sept. 26. Appointments with counselors can be scheduled by calling 614 221-8889, Ext. 134. To learn more about the program, visit savethedream.ohio.gov.