Eligibility Requirements

You must meet all eligibility requirements to be considered for the program. Please review the following criteria prior to applying for Hardest Hit Fund assistance.

An eligible homeowner:

  1. Must be a Florida resident;
  2. Must occupy property as primary residence (the property cannot be vacant, abandoned or rented);
  3. Must have suffered an approved hardship that makes the first mortgage unaffordable;
  4. Must have documented total income at or below 140% of the area median income (AMI), adjusted for household size (in Lee County, the total income for a household of four cannot be more than $86,240);
  5. May not have unencumbered assets of $5,000, or three times the current monthly mortgage payment (whichever is greater);
  6. Cannot have a bankruptcy that has not been discharged or dismissed; and
  7. Cannot have been convicted of a mortgage-related felony in the last 10 years.

The current mortgage:

  1. Must be serviced by a participating lender, who agrees to accept payments on behalf of the homeowner;
  2. Must not be more than 90 days past due at the time of application;
  3. Must have been originated on or before January 1, 2009; and
  4. Must have an existing principal balance of less than $400,000.

This list is not all inclusive; other information and documents will be required prior to determining eligibility.


Recent Article    |08 / 31 / 2010
Florida Almost Ready to Implement Hardest-Hit Fund

Pilot program set for Lee County in Fall of 2010
Florida's mortgage intervention and foreclosure avoidance assistance using federal Hardest-Hit funding will be available to troubled homeowners in Lee County—the pilot site—as detailed in the information below. As reported earlier, the U.S. Treasury requires that a pilot site be established prior to Florida making this assistance available statewide. The pilot is expected to be in place for a minimum of 90 days, with Mortgage Intervention assistance becoming available statewide sometime thereafter.

On August 11, 2010, U.S. Treasury expanded the existing Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Innovation Fund for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets (known as the Hardest-Hit Fund) to include a total of 18 states and the District of Columbia, and an additional $2 billion; Florida’s allocation from this new announcement is $238.8 million, which added to Florida's initial allocation of $418 million, brings the state’s total funding to $656.8 million.

This means MORE MONEY to help MORE PEOPLE for a LONGER PERIOD OF TIME.
MORE MONEY: This additional funding means Florida now has more than half-a-billion federal dollars to help troubled homeowners facing foreclosure.
HELP MORE PEOPLE: This additional funding allows the number of homeowners assisted to be increased to approximately 20,000.
LONGER PERIOD OF TIME: This additional funding allows us to now make payments on the homeowner’s behalf for up to 18 months.

These funds may also be used to pay arrearages on behalf of a qualified homeowner to bring the mortgage current.

The U.S. Treasury is requiring that Florida use this new funding specifically for a targeted unemployment program that provides temporary assistance to eligible homeowners by paying their mortgage while they seek re-employment, additional employment or undertake job training.

In order to fully comply with the Treasury’s requirement for the use of this new funding Florida will modify its initial plan to assist unemployed homeowners. As required by the Treasury, Florida will submit the modified plan to them by September 1; Florida hopes to have approval to move forward with the modified strategy by the end of that month.

Additionally, to ensure Florida's revised unemployment plan aligns with the Treasury’s guidelines for the new money, Florida must reschedule the implementation of the pilot in Lee County. Right now, the pilot is expected to be implemented in the autumn of 2010.

The federal government has allocated funding to help pay the mortgages of qualified homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed through no fault of their own.

Currently, this funding is only available to homeowners in Lee County, Florida, as a pilot program. We expect the program to become available statewide early in 2011.

Please check this website frequently for updates.

Homeowners who qualify for financial assistance may receive up to 18 months of monthly mortgage payments and/or funds to pay past due mortgage payments to bring the mortgage current; these funds are paid directly to the loan servicer/lender.

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Recent Article    |08 / 19 / 2010
Florida to Receive More than Half-A-Billion Dollars Under Expanded Federal HFA Hardest-Hit Fund

TALLAHASSEE—The State of Florida will receive more than half-a-billion dollars in federal funding from the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets (Hardest-Hit Fund). Florida will submit a revised implementation plan to U.S. Treasury to ensure this funding will be available to troubled homeowners in the pilot area by early fall.

The additional funding the State of Florida will receive from the federal Hardest-Hit Fund will give the state more money to help more people for a longer period of time. To do that, it will be necessary for Florida to revise its current Mortgage Intervention plan and reschedule the implementation of the pilot in Lee County until early fall.
First announced on February 19 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury), the Hardest-Hit Fund was established to provide federal funding to states hardest hit by the aftermath of the burst of the housing bubble. This funding is to be used to provide meaningful financial support to troubled homeowners to help them avoid foreclosure on their homes. To date, 18 states and the District of Columbia have been allocated $4.1 billion in funding from the fund. Florida’s Hardest-Hit funding includes $418 million from the first announcement and, most recently, $238.8 million, which totals $656.8—more than half-a-billion dollars.

The treasury requires that the new allocation be used specifically for a targeted unemployment program that provides temporary assistance to eligible homeowners by paying their mortgage while they seek re-employment, additional employment or undertake job training. To fully comply with this requirement, Florida Housing will submit a revised Hardest-Hit plan to the Treasury by September 1. Florida hopes to have approval on the revised plan by the end of September, and to move forward with the pilot in Lee County pilot by mid-October. Statewide implementation is tentatively scheduled for February 2011.

Florida’s total allocation from the Hardest-Hit Fund means more money to help more people for a longer period of time:
More Money: This additional funding means Florida now has more than half-a-billion federal dollars to help troubled homeowners facing foreclosure.
Help More People: This additional funding allows us to increase the number of homeowners helped to approximately 20,000.
Longer Period of Time: This additional funding allows us to now make payments on the homeowner’s behalf for up to 18 months, including the payment of arrearages on behalf of a homeowner to bring the mortgage current.

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Recent Article    |03 / 05 / 2010
Update on Federal Hardest-Hit Fund

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the Obama Administration released the next steps in the recently-announced Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets ("HFA Hardest-Hit Fund").


On February 19, 2010, President Obama announced additional funding for innovative measures to help families in the states that have been hit the hardest by the aftermath of the burst of the housing bubble. States where house prices have fallen more than 20% from their peak are eligible for this funding. Those states are Nevada, California, Florida, Arizona and Michigan. The HFA Hardest-Hit Fund will help housing finance agencies ("HFAs") in these states further respond to the most pressing problems in their communities. HFAs have an understanding of the most urgent local challenges and an ability to address them expeditiously. For that reason, the Obama Administration has committed $1.5 billion in funding under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) to help HFAs expand their assistance to struggling homeowners and innovate new ways to address housing challenges.
Today the Administration released detailed guidance for eligible HFAs to submit program proposals for funding. The HFA Hardest-Hit Fund is designed to allow the maximum possible flexibility to eligible HFAs in designing programs that are tailored to the needs of their state. Today's guidance provides instruction to HFAs to ensure that program proposals meet basic guidelines and comply with the purposes of EESA. All programs must protect home values, preserve homeownership, promote jobs and economic growth, and provide accountability to the public.
Funding allocations were also released today based on a formula to provide relief in direct proportion to the scale of each state's housing challenges. Funds have been allocated based on home price declines, unemployment rates, and mortgage delinquencies.

Eligible HFAs may submit program proposals to the Department of the Treasury up to the April 16th deadline, after which the review period will begin. The U.S. Treasury will provide additional updates to the public as the program progresses.

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Recent Article    |02 / 19 / 2010
President Obama Announces Help for Hardest Hit
Housing Markets

Today President Obama announced funding for innovative measures to help families in the states that have been hit the hardest by the aftermath of the housing bubble. In each of these states, the average price for all homes in the state has fallen more than 20% from the peak.

Home prices across the country are beginning to stabilize since the Administration’s economic policies began to take effect in mid-2009. But the legacy of price declines, together with the effects of high unemployment, means that many working and middle class families in these especially hard-hit areas are facing serious challenges, in many cases beyond what their families’ resources can handle. This new innovation fund will help housing finance agencies in the hardest-hit areas and localities further respond to the most pressing problems in their communities.

President Obama said, "During these difficult economic times, we will work to help responsible homeowners stay in their homes and stabilize the housing market so home values can rise. This program will allow housing finance agencies in the places hardest-hit by the housing crisis find innovative ways to help homeowners stay afloat, and empower local agencies that know these communities best. With the help of Harry, Tim and Shaun, we’ll continue to work together to stabilize the mortgage markets and hasten our recovery."

Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner said, "This innovative program will allow us to work directly with states and localities to tailor housing assistance to local needs. It's an opportunity to provide additional relief to the hardest hit states while continuing to strengthen our housing market stabilization efforts."

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan said, "Although the housing market has come a long way in just one year, there are many communities like Las Vegas that are still struggling. The funding announced today will help target resources to those hardest hit markets, promoting innovation that tailors programs to meet local needs and complementing our national foreclosure relief efforts."

Help for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets
This new program will apply to states that have suffered an average home price drop of over 20% from the peak. State and local Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) in each state are already familiar with the urgent challenges facing their communities and have demonstrated the ability to address these challenges. For that reason, we will work with these HFAs to expand the capacity to help address these challenges, with $1.5 billion from the funds set aside for housing under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA).

The HFAs will determine the priorities facing their local markets. The program will be under strict transparency and accountability rules. The increase in HFA activities in these areas will support families in these markets, combining with the numerous other steps the Administration has taken to address housing markets.

Funds can be used for innovation to take steps to address difficult, locally-important challenges for the hardest-hit housing markets, including unemployed borrowers, underwater borrowers, and second liens.

Programs must meet funding requirements under EESA. These include that the recipient of funds must be an eligible financial institution and that the funds must be used to pay for mortgage modifications or for other permitted uses under EESA. Treasury will announce maximum state level allocations in the next two weeks, along with rules governing the submission of program designs by HFAs, and provide a period thereafter for HFAs to submit their program designs in order to receive funding.
Housing markets vary considerably from state to state, and often within a single state. Housing Finance Agencies are intimately engaged already in their local housing markets, and will play the lead role in determining what sorts of programs are most appropriate to local conditions.

Three sorts of problems that may be addressed with funding are unemployed borrowers, underwater borrowers, and second liens:

1. Unemployed borrowers. Since the recession began in 2008, unemployment has hit many families who own homes. In previous times, when house prices were rising, families with unemployment could often sell their homes for more than they had paid, using the proceeds to tide them over. Today, by contrast, families in states where prices have dropped more than 20% often find themselves owing more than the house is worth in the current market. Such homes are often difficult to sell, and families with unemployment often can’t pay the current mortgage and may not have enough income to qualify for a modification. In such circumstances, one use of funds would be for HFAs to begin programs to help unemployed homeowners until they have secured a new job. HFAs can consider a variety of programs to help unemployed borrowers.

2. Underwater borrowers. For states with more than 20% home price declines, a large portion of homeowners are "underwater" -- they owe more than the house is worth in the current market. Such borrowers often find it difficult to sell their homes -- lenders may not agree to a sale that fails to pay back a mortgage in full. HFAs may experiment with programs that would assist borrowers to negotiate with lenders to write down mortgages.

3. Second liens. An important challenge can arise for some borrowers who have a home equity line of credit or other second mortgage on their home. Often, a first mortgage lender who may be willing to modify the loan by reducing principal can run into difficulties in coordinating between the first and second mortgage lender. To smooth this coordination problem, and help assure that homeowners get an overall modification that works best, funds can be used to pay incentives to the second mortgage holders, addressing this potential obstacle to reducing principal and keeping borrowers in their homes.

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