TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Nearly 9,500 Florida homeowners have submitted applications to receive financial assistance from a federally funded program aimed at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The Florida Housing Corp. began taking applications for its Florida Hardest-Hit Fund a week ago. Applications are being accepted from troubled homeowners in all 67 Florida counties. The federally funded program will provide eligible homeowners with up to six months of cash assistance to make payments on mortgages that would otherwise go unpaid.

The counties with the largest number of applications are Broward (1,638), Miami-Dade (1,027), Orange (957) and Palm Beach (939). Homeowners may apply for financial assistance from the fund by using the official HHF website: www.flhardesthithelp.org

The site contains all the information users need to begin the process, including a program fact sheet, answers to frequently asked questions and links to resources that may be helpful to those experiencing economic challenges.

Created by the U.S. Treasury in February 2010, the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets sets aside funds from the 2008 federal stimulus package to five states: Florida, Arizona, California, Michigan and Nevada; states with the highest levels of foreclosures. The program was later expanded to 18 states. Florida’s cut to date is $1 billion of nearly $9 billion in federal funds.

Florida is the last state of five original recipients to get its program underway. The program was rolled out last year in Lee County as a pilot. The region was the epicenter of a housing bust resulting in thousands of foreclosures.

Programs available through the HHF include The Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, or UMAP. It will provide up to $12,000 to pay monthly mortgage and escrowed mortgage-related expenses for up to six (6) months, or until the homeowner can resume making mortgage payments, whichever comes first. In addition, homeowners in the UMAP will be required to pay 25 percent of their monthly income toward their monthly mortgage payment, with a minimum payment of $70 per month.

The Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment Program, or MLRP, will provide up to $6,000 to bring the homeowner’s past-due first mortgage current if the homeowner can show the ability to resume making mortgage payments on his/her own; for a homeowner who received funding from the UMAP program, any unused funds up to $12,000 may be used in addition to MLRP funds to help bring the first mortgage current.

UMAP and MLRP program funds will be in the form of a 0% percent, deferred-payment loan; the loan can be forgiven over a five-year period, at a rate of 20% each year.

Florida homeowners should continue to be aware that several “imposter” websites have been identified and applicants are strongly encouraged to verify that the website they are using is, in fact, the official Florida HHF website before providing their personal information.

Related Link:

Florida Hardest-Hit Fund


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