New Jersey HomeKeeper Program Helps Struggling Homeowners Pay Their Mortgage
TRENTON, NJ – The Christie Administration today announced the launch of the 2016 New Jersey HomeKeeper Program, a foreclosure prevention initiative that will assist New Jersey homeowners who have a track record of making their mortgage payments on time but are now at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure as a direct result of unemployment, underemployment or other demonstrated financial hardships including medical, divorce, disability or death. The program is funded with federal Hardest Hit Funds (HHF) which are used to create locally-tailored foreclosure prevention programs to help families across the country who have found themselves unable to pay their mortgages.
“The New Jersey HomeKeeper Program is here to assist homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments because of certain hardships resulting in a reduction in income,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Charles A. Richman, who is also Chairman of the HMFA Board. “We understand that New Jersey families still continue to face difficult economic realities, and we want to help them keep their homes as they deal with these hardships.”
The HomeKeeper Program offers qualified homeowners up to $48,000 in financial assistance to cover mortgage arrearages and/or monthly mortgage payments (including principal, interest, taxes and insurance) for up to 12 months. The assistance is in the form of a 0 percent interest rate, second mortgage loan, and is only repayable should the homeowner sell, refinance, transfer or cease to occupy the property within 10 years from the date of the HomeKeeper assistance loan.
The HomeKeeper loan is tailored to assist homeowners who, through no fault of their own, are financially unable to make their mortgage payments and are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. Qualifying circumstances include involuntary financial hardship that caused or will cause a homeowner to fall behind on mortgage payments including loss of employment income or a reduction in household income due to underemployment or other demonstrated hardships including medical, divorce, disability or death.
The HomeKeeper Program is administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), a DCA affiliate, with funding from the U.S. Treasury Department’s HHF, a federal initiative that provided funds to 18 states and the District of Columbia hardest hit by the economic downturn.
“For the homeowners who qualify, the HomeKeeper Program will allow them to focus on improving their financial situation so that they can resume making payments on their own,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony Marchetta.
A link to the HomeKeeper online application is now available at http://www.njhousing.gov/foreclosure. All applicants will be required to apply online. Once the online application is completed, eligible applicants will be assigned a housing counselor, free of charge, who will guide them through the process.
The other foreclosure initiative administered by the HMFA for at-risk homeowners is the New Jersey HomeSaver program that offers eligible New Jersey homeowners up to $50,000 in financial assistance to help bring their household monthly payment to an affordable level by using HHF funds to facilitate a refinance, recast, or permanent modification of the first mortgage loan. A link to the HomeSaver online application is also available at http://www.njhousing.gov/foreclosure.
The HMFA was created by the New Jersey State Legislature in 1983 to advocate for the production and financing of homeownership and rental housing that is affordable to lower income residents of the State of New Jersey. As part of its mission, the HMFA provides a variety of fixed interest rate mortgages and down payment and closing cost assistance programs to assist homebuyers and homeowners. Dedicated to increasing the availability of and accessibility to safe, decent and affordable housing to families across New Jersey, the HMFA provides funding for traditional affordable housing developments that serve New Jersey's neediest families as well as first-time homebuyers, senior citizens, and/or the disabled in special needs communities. In every situation HMFA is committed to make quality housing available at costs that are affordable to New Jersey residents.
For information on other HMFA foreclosure prevention programs, as well as all other HMFA services, log on to http://www.njhousing.gov/foreclosure