Washington DC's Hardest Hit Program: HomeSaver

Washington, DC’s HomeSaver program provides a one-time payment to extinguish delinquent real property taxes.

Washington, DC’s HomeSaver program, which is funded through the Hardest Hit Fund, provides a one-time payment to extinguish the delinquent real property taxes for eligible District of Columbia homeowners. Read on to get an overview of the program, learn how much assistance is available, and 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.)

Washington, DC was awarded over $20 million in funds through the Hardest Hit Fund to help eligible homeowners. To do this, Washington, DC launched the HomeSaver program in January 2011.

The HomeSaver Program

In the past, Washington, DC’s HomeSaver program, which is funded through the Hardest Hit Fund, provided mortgage payment and loan reinstatement assistance for homeowners who were facing foreclosure as a direct result of unemployment or underemployment. However, the mortgage assistance phase of the HomeSaver program has ended.

Now, the HomeSaver program is designed to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure or tax sale due to delinquent real property taxes. The maximum amount of assistance is $38,400.

Funds for the Tax Lien Extinguishment Program will be administered on a first-come first-serve basis for qualified District of Columbia homeowners.

How the HomeSaver Program Works

Assistance is provided in the form of a loan that is forgiven at 20% per year. In year six, the loan balance will be zero and the lien removed. You need to repay the loan only if you sell or refinance during the forgiveness period and there are sufficient equity proceeds available.

HomeSaver Borrower Eligibility

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

  • Your real property tax delinquency must be greater than $2,500.
  • You must have received a Notice of Delinquency or Notice of Tax Sale from the DC Office of Tax and Revenue or be at risk of eviction due to Tax Sale Foreclosure (and you must be within the redemption period).
  • You must have experienced an eligible involuntary financial hardship resulting in reduced income due to change in employment, medical hardship, death of a spouse/co-borrower, divorce, or disability.
  • Your gross income cannot exceed 120% of the Area Median Income ($131,040).
  • Your PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) payment must be 38% of your gross income or less.
  • Your total liquid assets cannot exceed three times the tax delinquency amount.
  • You must be current on monthly mortgage payments, excluding real property taxes, if a mortgage exists.

Home Eligibility Criteria

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

  • The property is located in Washington, DC.
  • The property is your primary residence.

HomeSaver Program Exclusions

You are not eligible for the HomeSaver program if one of the below applies to you.

  • You filed bankruptcy and the bankruptcy is active. (If you previously filed bankruptcy and it was dismissed or you received a discharge, then you are eligible to apply for the program.)
  • The property is a residentlal co-op unit.

How to Apply for HomeSaver Program

To apply for HomeSaver assistance, go to www.homesaverdc.org and click on click “Start Now” to begin the application process. If you prefer to apply by telephone or in person, call 202-777-1690 for assistance.

For More Information

If you would like more information about applying to the HomeSaver program, go to www.homesaverdc.org/contact and fill out the contact form.

For information on federal government programs for struggling homeowners, visit Nolo's Government Foreclosure Prevention Programs topic area.

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