Friday, November 21, 2014

State Expands Eligibility/Benefits for Foreclosure Prevention Program

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) recently announced expansions to the state of Ohio's foreclosure prevention program, Save the Dream Ohio. Effective Feb. 1, the enhancements to the program and eligibility requirements are intended to aid OHFA in assisting more homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments.

Save the Dream Ohio, formerly known as Restoring Stability, helps homeowners who have experienced a financial hardship and are at risk of mortgage loan default or foreclosure. Among the program changes, the maximum benefit amount per household has increased from $25,000 to $35,000 for homeowners utilizing more than one program. Under the new terms, the maximum annual household income for eligible homeowners has increased to $112,375. Also, a household's liquid assets excluding retirement funds will no longer be a factor in determining program eligibility.

"Since the implementation of the Save the Dream Ohio program, OHFA has distributed more than $105 million on behalf of more than 8,800 Ohio homeowners," said OHFA Executive Director Doug Garver in a statement. "These program enhancements will allow OHFA to reach more homeowners in need."

The amount and type of assistance is specific to each homeowner's needs. Programs under Save the Dream Ohio include the following:

- Mortgage Payment Assistance (MPA) – provides up to 18 months of full mortgage payments, or a maximum benefit amount of $22,000. Previously, homeowners could receive 15 months of payments or a maximum benefit amount of $20,000.

- Rescue Payment Assistance (RPA) – provides up to $25,000 to bring a homeowner current on their delinquent mortgage. Under the new terms, a homeowner participating in both the RPA and MPA programs is eligible for a combined maximum assistance amount of $32,000. Previously, homeowners participating in both RPA and MPA were limited to a maximum assistance amount of $20,000.

- Modification with Contribution Assistance (MCA) – provides up to $25,000 to reduce a delinquent and/or principal balance to help a homeowner qualify for a loan modification. Under the program changes, a homeowner can alternatively request a recast or re-amortization of their first mortgage lien with a state contribution of up to $25,000.

- Homeownership Retention Assistance (HRA) – provides payments up to $25,000 to reduce or eliminate a delinquent second mortgage, property taxes and/or condo association dues. Mechanics and tax liens are excluded from the program.

- Lien Elimination Assistance (LEA) – provides up to $25,000 to a mortgage servicer to extinguish a first mortgage lien.

- Transition Assistance – provides up to $7,500 to the homeowner for relocation in connection with an approved short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure.

OHFA was allocated $570.4 million from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) to administer the Save the Dream Ohio program. Ohio remains a leader among the 18 states participating in the Hardest Hit Fund program and ranks third in the nation in terms of the funds distributed, the agency noted in a release.

In conjunction with the new program changes, OHFA launched a new Save the Dream Ohio website. The new site includes streamlined information and a pre-screening tool to assist applicants in determining program eligibility. It can be found at http://savethedream.ohio.gov/. Individuals can also call toll free 888-404-4674.
Story originally published in The Hannah Report on February 18, 2013.  Copyright 2013 Hannah News Service, Inc.


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