Call the Unemployment Information Center at 215-557-0822 for help if you are behind on your mortgage. Our housing counselors may be able to help you.
THE FOLLOWING IS A BRIEF LIST OF OPTIONS THAT MIGHT BE AVAILABLE TO YOU TO HELP SAVE YOUR HOME.
If you are having trouble with your mortgage you should contact a HUD approved housing counseling agency like the Unemployment Information Center (UIC). Housing counselors can help you apply for programs and navigate the foreclosure process in your area.
- Making Home Affordable (MHA)
- FHA Loans
- Conventional Fannie/Freddie Loan
- Home Retention Grant
- Emergency Petition to Postpone a Sheriff’s Sale
1. HOMEOWNERS’ EMERGENCY MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (HEMAP)
If you receive an Act 91 Notice of Intent to Foreclose from your mortgage servicing company, you are eligible to apply for the Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). You should contact the Save Your Home Philly Hotline immediately 215-334-4663.
HEMAP forwards funds to bring your mortgage current and, under some circumstances, to offer ongoing assistance to make regular payments. You repay a HEMAP loan based on your income. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) reviews and determines eligibility for HEMAP.
If you have been denied HEMAP, contact our office immediately for assistance in appealing your HEMAP decision.
2. PHILADELPHIA’S MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE DIVERSION PROGRAM
Philadelphia residents can get help through the Foreclosure Diversion program of the Court of Common Pleas. Instituted to reduce foreclosures in 2008, the Diversion program requires mortgage companies to negotiate with homeowners prior to a Sheriff Sale or the granting of a judgment against the homeowner. The homeowner must contact a non-profit housing counseling agency, like UIC, to begin negotiating an affordable resolution to the problem with the mortgage company.
If you live in your home and the mortgage company starts the legal process of foreclosure by filing a foreclosure complaint, you are eligible for a conciliation conference in the diversion program. Contact the Save Your Home Philly Hotline immediately 215-334-4663.
3. MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE (HAMP, HAUP)
Under the umbrella of federal programs known as Making Home Affordable, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) can be a way to get your mortgage company to modify your mortgage, reduce your interest rate and your monthly payments. It is possible to even reduce the amount that you owe on the mortgage in some cases.
For homeowners struggling with unemployment, you may be eligible for a program under Making Home Affordable known as the Home Affordable Unemployment Program (HAUP).
To qualify for Making Home Affordable programs, you must meet certain criteria about the type of mortgage loan you have, the investor of your loan and the timeline in receiving your mortgage loan. A housing counselor can help to navigate these questions.
3. OPTIONS FOR FHA LOANS
This option is available if you have a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Mortgage companies are required by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines to consider you for the following options.
Special Forbearance: unemployed homeowners may be eligible for a Special Forbearance. Under a Special Forbearance you make partial payments based on your income for up to twelve months. During this time period, you must actively seek employment. After finding employment, you will apply for a mortgage modification.
Partial Claim: you have enough income to make your regular payments but need help catching up on past due payments as a result of a circumstance beyond your control (illness, unemployment, emergency home repairs). A Partial Claim is a loan from HUD for up to one-third of the remaining unpaid principal balance of your loan to bring you current. There is no interest on this loan and you will not have to pay it back until your mortgage is paid off.
Mortgage Modification: if you have a circumstance beyond your control which caused you to fall behind (illness, unemployment, loss of income), you may qualify for a mortgage modification to reduce your monthly payments.
FHA-HAMP: expanded options for FHA insured homeowners to combine the Partial Claim and Mortgage Modification in a determined way to find a more affordable monthly payment.
The Unemployment Information Center can help you apply to your mortgage company for the help described above. Your mortgage company has to consider your application for this help and it cannot tell you that it cannot help you because you presently have no income or too little income if you can show that you will be able to get income in the foreseeable future.
If your mortgage company refuses to determine your eligibility for the programs above, it may be helpful to contact the FHA in writing:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Servicing and Loss Mitigation Division
500 W. Main Street, Suite 400
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Or by phone: 1-877-622-8525
Or contact the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau by filing a complaint: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
4. CONVENTIONAL MODIFICATIONS
If you are not eligible for HEMAP and you do not have a FHA Loan you may be eligible for Making Home Affordable (above). However, certain types of loans including the investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not eligible for Making Home Affordable. You may still be able to negotiate an agreement with your mortgage company within the guidelines of the programs designed by the specific mortgage servicing company, known as an in-house modification.
Our housing counselors can also help you with negotiations with your mortgage company. The mortgage company has the power to stop the sheriff sale while it considers your situation.
6. HOUSING RETENTION GRANT PROGRAMS
The City of Philadelphia provides small grants (less than $1,500) to assist homeowners to become current and avoid the foreclosure process. You must meet with a housing counselor to screen your eligibility for the retention grant.
In addition, the housing retention grants must be matched by funds from a homeowner’s contribution.
Contact UIC at 215-557-0848 for a list of agencies. The grants are usually only available if they will, along with whatever other money you have available to you, resolve your mortgage delinquency.
In some cases a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be used to help you save your home. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be especially helpful where the default was the result of a temporary loss in income or where the mortgage is a predatory loan that can be reduced through litigation to an amount that is affordable. In some rare cases a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be helpful if your inability to make the mortgage payments is the result of large unsecured debts that you have been trying to pay.
A bankruptcy is not a magic solution and will often fail unless you are represented by a competent attorney and unless you have the discipline and income to follow the financial plan. Sometimes a bankruptcy can make matters worse. Homeowners should be very careful when selecting an attorney. Not all attorneys who hold themselves out as experts in bankruptcy have the ability, knowledge or willingness to take advantage of the provisions of the law that are available to help people save their homes.
8. EMERGENCY PETITION TO POSTPONE SHERIFF’S SALE
Homeowners may file an emergency petition to postpone a scheduled sheriff’s sale for a limited period of time. A homeowner will be required to appear in front of a judge to explain the specific circumstances requiring a delay and how the additional time will help to reach a resolution with the mortgage company. A housing counselor can assist with this process and accompany a homeowner to the emergency hearing.