New Jersey's Hardest Hit Program: NJ Homekeeper Program

The New Jersey HomeKeeper Program provides mortgage payment and loan reinstatement assistance. The state also offers the HomeSaver Program.

The New Jersey HomeKeeper Program, which is funded through the Hardest Hit Fund, provides mortgage payment and loan reinstatement assistance for homeowners who are facing foreclosure. Also, the state offers the New Jersey HomeSaver Program, which provides funds to reduce a mortgage balance and help the homeowner get a more affordable monthly payment through a refinance, recast, or permanent modification of the first mortgage loan.

Read on to get an overview of the programs, learn how much assistance is available, and find out if you are eligible.

(To learn about foreclosure laws in New Jersey, and programs to assist New Jersey homeowners, visit our  New Jersey Foreclosure Law Center.)

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, D.C., that experienced the most extreme home price declines and high unemployment rates as a result of the economic crisis. More funding was approved in 2016.

(Learn more about the  Hardest Hit Fund.)

New Jersey was originally awarded over $300 million in funds through the Hardest Hit Fund to help eligible homeowners avoid foreclosure. (Learn more about the  New Jersey foreclosure process.)

The New Jersey HomeKeeper Program

The New Jersey HomeKeeper Program is designed to help homeowners who are currently experiencing an income loss (or previously experienced an income loss). The two types of mortgage assistance available under the program are:

  • mortgage payment assistance (up to 12 months)
  • reinstatement assistance.

The maximum amount of assistance is $48,000.

The New Jersey HomeSaver Program

The HomeSaver Program offers provides up to $50,000 in financial assistance to help homeowners bring their monthly mortgage payment to an affordable level through a refinance, recast, or permanent modification of the first mortgage loan.

Borrower Eligibility

To be eligible, you must meet all of the below criteria.

  • You own a home in New Jersey and are at risk of foreclosure through no fault of your own.
  • You own only one residential home (one, two, or three-units), and you currently live in the home.
  • You have suffered a qualifying involuntary financial hardship (such as an involuntary loss of employment income, a reduction in household income due to underemployment, or other demonstrated financial hardships including medical, divorce, disability or death) that caused or will cause you to fall behind on your mortgage payment.

Home Eligibility Criteria

Additionally, your existing mortgages and the property securing the mortgages must meet the below criteria.

  • The property is in New Jersey.
  • The property is your primary and only residence. (This means you cannot own other investment or vacation properties.)
  • The property is a single-family home, a two-unit home, or a condominium.
  • The outstanding principal balance of your first mortgage plus the outstanding principal balance of any other existing mortgage loans on the home does not exceed $429,619 for a one-unit dwelling or $550,005 for a two-family dwelling.

Mobile or manufactured homes are eligible for the program if on a permanent foundation that is affixed to real property owned by the homeowner and secured by a real property mortgage lien. Learn more about  what happens if you are struggling to pay your mobile home loan.

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.) Program payments are made directly to the mortgage servicer.

How to Apply

For instructions on how to apply for HomeKeeper assistance, go to  www.njhomekeeper.com or www.njhousing.gov/foreclosure.

For More Information

If you would like more information, call 855-647-7700 or 609-278-7660 or  email hardesthitnj@njhmfa.gov.

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