HomeSafe Georgia, which is funded through the federal Hardest Hit Fund, offers mortgage payment assistance, reinstatement assistance, and mortgage payment modification to eligible homeowners. Keep reading to get an overview of the program, learn how much assistance is available, and to find out if you are eligible.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury created the Hardest Hit Fund to provide targeted aid to homeowners in those states most affected by the housing market crash. As part of this program, $7.6 billion in aid was allocated to the 18 states, along with Washington, DC, that experienced the most extreme home price declines and high unemployment rates as a result of the economic crisis. (Learn more about the Hardest Hit Fund.)
Georgia was awarded over $339 million in funds through the Hardest Hit Fund (and additional funding was approved in 2016) to help eligible homeowners avoid foreclosure. (Learn more about the Georgia foreclosure process.) To do this, Georgia set up the HomeSafe Georgia program.
There are several types of mortgage assistance available under the HomeSafe Georgia program:
Assistance is provided in the form of an interest-free, forgivable loan secured by a junior lien that is recorded against the property. The loan is forgiven at a rate of 20% per year. This means that if you stay in your home for five years, the lien balance will be reduced $0.
You only need to repay the loan if you sell or refinance the property before the forgiveness period expires and there are sufficient proceeds to put towards the portion of the loan that has not yet been forgiven.
Generally, to be eligible for HomeSafe Georgia assistance, you must:
Eligibility requirements vary from program to program. To find out if you're eligible, go to www.HomeSafeGeorgia.com.
You are not eligible for HomeSafe Georgia assistance if you filed bankruptcy and the bankruptcy is active, unless the bankruptcy can be dismissed or discharged quickly and you meet all other requirements of the mortgage assistance program that you apply for.
HomeSafe Georgia will pay up to 24 monthly mortgage payments directly to the lender for eligible applicants who have had an unemployment or underemployment hardship in the past 36 months and need help making the monthly mortgage payment. For those who became delinquent, up to 12 of the 24 months can be used to reinstate the loan.
HomeSafe Georgia will make a one-time payment of up to 12 months of delinquent mortgage payments and fees directly to your lender. Borrowers can use this program along with the Mortgage Payment Assistance program if needed and appropriate.
The Mortgage Payment Reduction provides a one-time payment of up to $45,000 directly to the lender for those who have suffered a permanent loss of income in the last 36 months. The loan can then be recast or modified to lower your monthly mortgage payment.
Servicer participation in this program is voluntary. (A mortgage servicer is the company that collects monthly mortgage payments from borrowers on behalf of the owner of the loan, as well as tracks account balances, manages the escrow account, handles loss mitigation applications, and pursues foreclosure in the case of defaulted loans.)
To find out if your servicer is part of HomeSafe Georgia, go to www.homesafegeorgia.com/spv-66.aspx and select “Click Here for Participating Lenders.”
Go to www.HomeSafeGeorgia.com and click "Start or Continue your application." You can also take a quiz to find out if you might be eligible for HomeSafe Georgia's programs.
The HomeSafe Georgia program is free of charge and you should not pay for any services associated with applying for assistance. Do not pay any company that promises to expedite your application or guarantees approval.
If you would like more information, you can call the customer service help line at 877-519-4443, which is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except holidays). You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.