Monday, February 4, 2013

Ohio foreclosure program expands benefits, increases eligibility

Save the Dream Ohio, a program that has helped more than 8,800 homeowners prevent foreclosure, has eased its eligibility requirements and enhanced the benefits it provides.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), the program's administrator, announced on Feb. 1 that it has increased the maximum benefit per household from $25,000 to $35,000. Under the new terms, the maximum annual household income for eligible homeowners has increased to $112,375, and a household's liquid assets – excluding retirement funds – will no longer be a factor in determining eligibility.

OHFA's financial assistance packages are available to homeowners needing help making their mortgage payments, becoming current on their mortgage payments, modifying existing loans, eliminating a lien, or exiting their home and avoiding foreclosure.

The program was created to assist homeowners going through unexpected financial hardships such as unemployment, reduced wages, increased medical expenses, or divorce. Sixty-six percent of program participants are currently unemployed and unable to qualify for other loan modification or foreclosure prevention programs.

"These program enhancements will allow OHFA to reach more homeowners in need," OHFA Executive Director Doug Garver said in a prepared release.

Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund, which will provide up to $7.6 billion to 18 states and the District of Columbia through 2017. Ohio was allocated $570.4 million and has disbursed $105 million so far.

OHFA administers the program through agreements with more than 350 mortgage servicers and through partnerships with housing counseling agencies in all 88 counties.

Previous reading on BC:
Ohio foreclosure prevention effort reaches $100M milestone (12/20/12)
Ohio foreclosure prevention program turns two (10/3/12)
Capacity, funding could hurt demolition initiative (9/25/12)
OHFA issues RFP for study of affordable housing tax credits (3/13/12)
Ohio awarded additional $148M in Hardest-Hit foreclosure funding (8/12/10)