TALLAHASSEE - Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) was recently notified that the United States Department of Treasury (Treasury) approved changes to the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund (HHF) unemployment programs that will result in more eligible homeowners qualifying for assistance. Beginning immediately, hardship criteria has been expanded to include situations where death, divorce or disability adversely affects the homeowner’s (or homeowners’) ability to pay their first mortgage.
The homeowner(s) must still meet other eligibility criteria to qualify for assistance. Program benefits, eligibility criteria and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the official website, at www.FLHardestHitHelp.org. Additionally, homeowners in Florida who have not previously applied for assistance may do so using this website.
Homeowners who previously applied for HHF program assistance, but were deemed ineligible at that time due to not having an eligible hardship—meaning the financial hardship occurred as a result of death, divorce or disability—may request their application be reconsidered by contacting the HHF Advisor Agency that initially worked with them; they do not need to start a new application. If previous applicants cannot remember their assigned agency, or if homeowners have other questions, they may call the Florida HHF Toll-Free Information Line at 1-(877) 863-5244.
Florida HHF unemployment/underemployment programs are as follows:
To assist unemployed or underemployed homeowners, the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP) will provide up to 12 months of payments (with a cap of $24,000, whichever comes first) paid directly to the mortgage lender. Also, up to $18,000 can be paid up-front to help satisfy all or some of a delinquent first mortgage before UMAP payments commence. Total assistance available is up to $42,000.
To assist a homeowner(s) who has returned to work or recovered from unemployment or underemployment, the Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment (MLRP) Program will provide up to $25,000 as a one-time payment to help satisfy all or some of a delinquent first mortgage.
First announced on February 19, 2010, by the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury), the “Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Innovation Fund for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets” (HFA Hardest-Hit Fund) provided $7.6 billion in federal funding to states hardest hit (18 states and the District of Columbia) by the aftermath of the burst of the housing bubble. Florida’s total allocation currently stands at more than $1 billion, of which approximately $566.3 million has been committed for more than 21,700 homeowners through five Florida HHF programs.