HomeSafe Georgia, which is funded through the federal Hardest Hit Fund, provides mortgage payment assistance for struggling homeowners who are currently (or were previously) unemployed or underemployed, reinstatement assistance to homeowners who fell behind in payments due to certain hardships, and mortgage payment modification to those who have experienced a significant permanent reduction of income.
Keep reading to get an overview of the program, learn how much assistance is available, and to find out if you are eligible.
Hardest Hit Fund
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 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:
- The Mortgage Payment Assistance program, which provides monthly mortgage payments for those who are currently unemployed or underemployed.
- The Reinstatement Assistance program, which provides funds to reinstate a loan to those who have suffered a military, medical, or death-related hardship in the last 36 months.
- The Mortgage Payment Reduction program works with the homeowner's lender to modify a homeowner’s loan to an affordable payment, if the homeowner has suffered a significant permanent reduction of income in the last 36 months.
How the HomeSafe Georgia Program Works
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.
Eligibility for HomeSafe Georgia
Generally, to be eligible for HomeSafe Georgia assistance, you must:
- live in Georgia
- be the homeowner (the person listed on the security deed) or the spouse of the homeowner, and
- meet a set of eligibility requirements for the HomeSafe Georgia mortgage program.
Eligibility requirements vary from program to program. To find out if you're eligible, go to www.HomeSafeGeorgia.com.
How Bankruptcy Affects Program Eligibility
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.
Program Details: Mortgage Payment Assistance
HomeSafe Georgia will pay up to 24 monthly mortgage payments directly to the lender (for first and second mortgages) for eligible applicants who have had an unemployment or underemployment hardship in the past 36 months and need help making the monthly mortgage payment.
Program Details: Reinstatement Assistance
Georgia will make a one-time payment of up to 24 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.
Program Details: Mortgage Payment Reduction
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.
HomeSafe Georgia Servicer Participation
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.”
How to Apply for HomeSafe Georgia Program
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.
Beware of Scams
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.
For More Information
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.