June is National Home Ownership Month, and while many North Carolinians are celebrating by purchasing homes, families who are facing foreclosure have little to celebrate. In 2016 alone, there were 26,118 foreclosure filings statewide.
But hope exists. The NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund, administered by the NC Housing Finance Agency and funded by the US Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, offers foreclosure prevention resources to help North Carolina homeowners keep their homes while they recover from a temporary financial hardship.
“Foreclosure doesn’t just impact homeowners, it affects the whole state,” said Scott Farmer, executive director of the NC Housing Finance Agency. “Foreclosures can lower property values, disrupt the state’s economy and impact job creation.”
The NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund, created in 2010, helps pay the mortgage for homeowners who have lost their jobs or are recovering from another financial hardship and homeowners who are earning less than before or on a fixed income after a qualified hardship. The Fund also assists homeowners who are temporarily unemployed due to natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storms Julia and Hermine.
Homeowners struggling to make their mortgage due to a no-fault job loss or other temporary hardship may be eligible for mortgage payment assistance. This assistance is offered as a zero-interest, deferred, forgivable loan up to $36,000 for 36 months to cover mortgage and related expenses while the homeowner looks for work or completes job training. This assistance is also available for military veterans transitioning from military life to a new civilian career. Eligible veterans can receive assistance while they are enrolled in certain educational programs or looking for a civilian job.
Homeowners who are re-employed after a job loss or other temporary hardship but earning less than before and unable to make mortgage payments as a result may be eligible for a forgivable, no-interest, deferred loan to reduce the principal loan balance so mortgage payments are more affordable. This assistance is also available for homeowners who have transitioned to a fixed income after a job loss or other qualified hardship.
“So far, the NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund has been a solid success statewide in keeping thousands of North Carolina homeowners in their homes while they get back on their feet,” Farmer said. “This program recognizes that a temporary setback doesn’t have to be a permanent loss. Keeping hard-working North Carolinians in their homes is a win-win for families and the state.”
Homeowners apply for assistance through participating HUD-approved housing counseling organizations. To locate a local counseling agency, homeowners can visit www.ncforeclosureprevention.gov or call 1-888-623-8631.
The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, a self-supporting public agency, has financed 255,000 homes and apartments since its creation in 1973.