|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
|Media Contact: Arlyne Alston
OHIO HARDEST-HIT FUND (OHIO HHF) PLAN APPROVED BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY
$172 million to assist Ohio homeowners facing foreclosure
COLUMBUS – The U.S. Department of Treasury today announced the approval of the Ohio Hardest-Hit Fund (Ohio HHF) plan. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) will use the allocation of $172 million in federal foreclosure prevention funding to help families struggling to pay their mortgages.
"Ohio families have felt the effects of the national housing crisis harder than most. Through this partnership with the Obama Administration, the Ohio Hardest-Hit Fund will keep more Ohio families out of foreclosure while adding stability to the housing market," Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said. "The Ohio Hardest-Hit Fund will be another tool for homeowners to stay in their homes, along with ongoing state initiatives like Save the Dream and the Foreclosure Compact that bring homeowners and lenders together to avoid home foreclosure."
Ohio has received the third largest allocation of Hardest-Hit funds to date as part of the U.S. Treasury's second round of funding. OHFA has worked with Governor Ted Strickland, the Department of Commerce and the Save the Dream Ohio partners to develop a comprehensive, statewide strategy. The plan aims to assist 18,500 unemployed and underemployed homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship and are at-risk of mortgage loan default or foreclosure.
"Governor Strickland and other state leaders have worked tirelessly to address foreclosures in Ohio," said Kimberly Zurz, Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce and OHFA Board Chairperson. "With these federal dollars in place, we can build on the success of Save the Dream Ohio to continue helping families struggling to maintain homeownership."
Ohio's program will assist homeowners with financial hardships who have been unable to qualify for existing loan modification and foreclosure prevention programs. Available programs will include: Rescue Payment Assistance, Partial Mortgage Payment Assistance, Modification Assistance with Principal Reduction and Transitional Assistance.
"Through this plan, we will provide resources that were previously unavailable to struggling borrowers," OHFA Executive Director Doug Garver said. "I am pleased that OHFA will play an active role in this initiative, coordinating a statewide network of partnerships to deliver help quickly to those who need it most."
The Ohio HHF plan will launch September 27, 2010 but borrowers who are in need of immediate assistance should visit the Save the Dream Ohio website at www.savethedream.ohio.gov or call the hotline at (888) 404-4674 to get free assistance and speak directly with a housing counselor.
Visit www.ohiohome.org to read Ohio's Hardest-Hit Fund proposal submitted to U.S. Treasury in its entirety.
- Rescue Payment Assistance will provide a payment to a participating homeowner's servicer to help bring the homeowner current on his or her delinquent mortgage. The payment could cover principal, interest, fees, delinquent taxes or escrow shortage and homeowners insurance.
- Partial Mortgage Payment Assistance will support unemployed homeowners by providing partial mortgage payments while they search for a job or participate in job training.
- Modification Assistance with Principal Reduction will provide an incentive payment to servicers to reduce a participating homeowner's mortgage principal to the level necessary to achieve a loan modification with a target of a 115 percent loan-to–value ratio or less. This program should increase the number of loan modifications that are approved and available to both HAMP eligible and non-HAMP eligible borrowers.
- Transitional Assistance will offer an incentive to servicers to complete short sales and deed-in-lieu agreements to help homeowners exit their homes gracefully. This will allow homeowners who cannot sustain homeownership to pursue alternatives to foreclosure, reducing the negative impact on their credit rating and losses to the servicer.
If a homeowner uses Ohio HHF to stay in their home and then sells or refinances their home within 5 years, the assistance would be repayable from the net proceeds.
OHFA utilizes federal and state resources to provide housing opportunities for families and individuals through programs designed to create, preserve, and manage affordable housing throughout the State of Ohio. The Agency is a self-supporting quasi-public agency governed by an eleven-member board, nine of whom are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Two additional seats on the board, by statute, are reserved for the Director of Development and the Director of Commerce, or their designees, and both serve as ex officio voting members.
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