The foreclosure epidemic continues to be one of the greatest challenges to South Florida’s economy. For years, subprime mortgage lending to high-risk buyers was incentivized by Wall Street, subsequently lead to the devastating financial crisis of 2008 that eliminated over 8 million American jobs. As a result, thousands of Americans still struggle to pay their mortgages not just due to escalating adjustable mortgage rates, but job losses and general financial hardship. Nearly 50 percent of Florida homeowners are underwater, meaning that their home values are now less than the cost of their mortgage. Housing, construction, and development are central to Florida’s economy, thus making preventing foreclosures and helping the housing market recover some of Congressman Deutch’s top priorities.
While Members of Congress and their staff cannot order a mortgage or home lender to decide a dispute in your favor, there are resources we may be able to share with you. You can always call one of Congressman Deutch’s district offices to speak with a constituent caseworker if you are at risk of losing your home.
There are a number of federally-sponsored programs available to assist homeowners who are having trouble with their home loans. The following are agencies or organizations that offer free or low-cost foreclosure prevention programs and resources to eligible homeowners. Please be aware of the rising number of foreclosure schemes out there, and that you should never accept the instruction of an organization that is not HUD-approved.
THE US DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
HUD provides a variety of resources for homeowners at risk of foreclosure and funds free housing counseling services throughout the country. HUD-approved counselors can help homeowners navigate vwith their lenders when assistance is needed.
Avoiding foreclosure in Florida
HUD-approved counseling agencies in Florida
MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE
As part of President Obama’s Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, this program helps to facilitate more affordable refinanced mortgages. Basic eligibility requirements are listed below, but you should also contact the program to see if you qualify.
You live in the home or have lived there in the last 12 months.
You have a documented financial hardship.
You have not purchased a new house within the last 12 months.
Your first mortgage is less than $729,750.
You obtained your mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
You must not have been convicted of a crime in connection with a real estate transaction.
NeighborWorks was created by Congress to provide financial support, technical assistance and training for community revitalization efforts. It provides a variety of resources for preserving homeownership in the face of rising foreclosure rates. HOPE for Homeowners, one of NeighborWorks most successful initiatives, is a toll-free national hotline that offers free foreclosure prevention and counseling advice from a third party, HUD-certified, not-for-profit network of counseling agencies dedicated to helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.
Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline: 888-995-HOPE (toll free) (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9707 TTY)
NeighborWorks Center for Foreclosure Solutions
HOPE NOW is an alliance of counselors and mortgage companies that have come together to provide streamlined and coordinated services. Examples of the homeowner assistance HOPE NOW offers include in-depth debt management, credit counseling and overall foreclosure counseling.