Homeowner Unemployment Assistance Plans–How Programs May Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure

Unemployed homeowners who are attempting to avoid foreclosure while they continue to look for work have not only current options which have been in place for months, but new initiatives are hoped to be offered in the coming months as a way to bring more affordability and foreclosure prevention to homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage payment and may simply need a little additional assistance while they continue to find a stable employment opportunity. Yet, there are those who have opposed some of these plans, but they are still in place and, in all likelihood, programs set to start in the coming months will be offered to homeowners in various areas where unemployment may be causing strain.

Recently, it was reported that the unemployment rate fell to 8.9% in February 2011, which has continued a decline seen in unemployment over the past months. Obviously, this is great news to individuals who have been out of work for the long-term or may have only been searching for a new job for the past few months, but the struggles that many homeowners are still feeling from job loss, particularly when it comes to paying their mortgage, has still created problems in the housing market and, in many cases, have required unemployment assistance plans to address these issues.

Homeowners have been able to use options to avoid the loss of their home through programs like the Home Affordable Unemployment Program, which is an extension of the federal Making Home Affordable initiative and offers home loan forbearance for unemployed homeowners. This program has allowed homeowners to avoid foreclosure by either reducing their monthly mortgage payment or suspending it entirely for at least three months, which has been helpful for some, but may not have been as beneficial for homeowners who continued to have trouble finding employment.

Yet, the Hardest Hit Fund, which was begun in states that were particularly hard hit by unemployment and negative equity, also offers various unemployed homeowner assistance plans through these state-specific initiatives. Obviously, states vary in their unemployed homeowner assistance programs, but many offered options that would allow homeowners to have their mortgage payment made for a set period of time, which again, allowed these individuals to continue seeking a job without the fear of losing their home.

Also, the new proposals from HUD to implement the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program may offer further assistance to homeowners who have lost their job, as this particular plan is set to begin in the spring of 2011, in the hopes of providing mortgage payment aid to homeowners who, again, are still struggling with unemployment and may be nearing foreclosure as a result.

Yet, there have been some opponents to these programs who have proposed their termination, but reports have stated that these initiatives will likely continue as votes in Congress to end these programs will either be stopped by opposition or vetoed if they reach the president. Understandably, homeowners need to be aware that these programs, although they are available to a wide number of homeowners, will not necessarily be an option for everyone, as certain qualifications must be met in various state-specific plans and federal modification program initiatives. However, homeowners who are unemployed and fear they may have trouble related to foreclosure in the near future can either contact their mortgage servicer, the Making Home Affordable Program’s Hope Hotline, or speak with their state’s housing agency to inquire about forms of aid that may be available for their situation.