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Loss Prevention Program for D.C. Homeowners Re-launches

A Washington, D.C. program founded during the foreclosure surge that stemmed from the Great Recession has re-launched, in an effort to help homeowners experiencing COVID-related struggles.

As part of the effort to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) has reopened its HomeSaver foreclosure prevention program.

Through the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) the Agency has approximately $4 million available to relaunch the HomeSaver program. The agency will use funds to aid eligible D.C. homeowners that have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to unemployment, underemployment, or have endured a financial hardship of which a lump sum payment will make the homeowner’s expense current.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic nears the one-year mark, DCHFA continues to pursue solutions to alleviate the financial hardships many District homeowners are experiencing," Christopher E. Donald, Acting Executive Director/CEO said. "The HomeSaver program was a successful resource in previous years and by reactivating the program, the Agency provides a resource to help D.C. residents retain ownership of their homes."

DCHFA launched HomeSaver in 2010 as a part of the HHF initiative to provide funds to unemployed and underemployed District homeowners that were facing foreclosure.

The HomeSaver Program will offer lump-sum assistance and/or ongoing monthly mortgage payments to eligible District homeowners at risk of foreclosure. The maximum assistance amount is capped at $60,000 per household.

Here is how the program is divided:

The program's unemployment and underemployment assistance component provides assistance to currently unemployed and underemployed homeowners through a one-time payment of up to 16 months of mortgage and/or condo fee delinquency in order to bring the mortgage current.

This component will also provide up to an additional 11 months of mortgage and/or condo fee payments going forward (total not to exceed 24 months payments) in order to keep the homeowner current. In December 2021 all final payments will be disbursed for those customers still enrolled in the program.

Its restore assistance component will be available for homeowners who have suffered a financial hardship and who need a lump sum payment to catch up on arrears, but who have sufficient resources to continue making their regular payments going forward. Restore Assistance may cover any property-related payments necessary to cure a default and prevent foreclosure, including but not limited to mortgage payments, property taxes, hazard insurance, late fees, condo fees, homeowner’s association fees, and legal fees.

For applicants, whose delinquency involved an inability to pay property tax charges, non-escrowed property taxes, such as in the case of a reverse mortgage, can be pre-paid through the remainder of the fiscal year at settlement.

Homeowners interested in applying must first complete an intake package and have it approved by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved housing counseling agency and then forwarded to the HomeSaver Program staff at DCHFA for final approval.

More details and applications can be found at DCHFA.org.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. Contact Christina at [email protected].

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