Release No. 061615-11
While National Homeownership Month in June usually focuses on the many benefits of buying and owning a home, it is also a good time to remind homeowners facing the devastating prospect of foreclosure that help is available in North Carolina.
The state’s NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund can make mortgage payments while homeowners get back on their feet after a layoff, reduction in hours, divorce or illness. It can also assist returning veterans while they attend school on the GI Bill. The Fund is designed and offered through the NC Housing Finance Agency, a self-supporting state agency, using funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It makes monthly mortgage payments on behalf of qualified homeowners for up to 36 months ($36,000) while they look for jobs or complete job training.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury made its Hardest Hit Fund available to North Carolina in 2010 because of the state’s high unemployment. Funding is available to help approximately 2,000 more homeowners.
“While both the economy and the foreclosure rate have improved in North Carolina, home foreclosures are still occurring in greater numbers than before the Great Recession,” said A. Robert Kucab, Executive Director of the NC Housing Finance Agency. “There were more than 32,000 filings in North Carolina last year, and the unemployment rate in 50 North Carolina counties still exceeds the national average.
“As we celebrate the many benefits of homeownership, there are unforeseen life events that may jeopardize keeping that dream alive. The NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund offers responsible homeowners a bridge so they can keep their homes while they recover.”
The effort benefits not just individual homeowners, Kucab said. “When a home goes into foreclosure, neighboring properties decline in value, the local property tax base shrinks, lenders and investors lose money. So far, this effort has preserved more than $3 billion in property values statewide.”
One homeowner who has benefitted is Kathryn D., a Charlotte auditor whose job was eliminated in 2012. “If I hadn’t found out about the North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund, I would have lost my house, no doubt,” she said. “It kept a roof over my head at a time when we couldn’t pay all our bills or even buy enough food. I would have lost my house and been living on the street.” The program helped Kathryn and her husband maintain their home until she found employment in January 2014.
There is no cost for mortgage assistance, which is offered as
- A zero-interest, deferred loan that pays the homeowner’s mortgage for up to 36 months ($36,000) during job search or retraining;
- A zero-interest, deferred loan up to $36,000 to bring a mortgage current after reduction of income; or
- A zero-interest loan up to $30,000 to refinance a second mortgage for a homeowner who has experienced a reduction of income, in order to lower the total monthly payment to an affordable level.
No repayment is due as long as the homeowner continues to live in the home. Loans for mortgage payment and reinstatement are extinguished after 10 years of occupancy. Second mortgage loans are repaid after 30 years, or when the home is sold, whichever happens first, and no interest is paid.
Free help applying and also help evaluating other ways to avoid foreclosure is available through 40 HUD-approved counseling agencies located throughout North Carolina.
The North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund is here to help. For information and a list of local counseling agencies offering assistance, homeowners can go to www.NCForeclosurePrevention.gov or call 888-623-8631.
The NC Housing Finance Agency, a self-supporting public agency, has financed more than 231,000 affordable homes and apartments statewide since its creation in 1973. For more information on the NC Housing Finance Agency, go to www.nchfa.com
Reporters/editors: Agency spokespeople are available to discuss details about the NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund and assist in trying to arrange interviews with homeowners that have been helped by the Fund. Please contact Brian Rapp or Connie Helmlinger at the numbers or email addresses listed above to arrange interviews or obtain additional information.