The Florida Hardest-Hit Fund program previously provided temporary mortgage payment and reinstatement assistance, as well as principal reductions, to eligible homeowners who were struggling to make their mortgage payments. But, even though those programs were scheduled to last through 2020, Florida closed these programs to new applications after January 31, 2018 due to a lack of funding.
As of February 2018, the only remaining Hardest Hit program for Florida homeowners in danger of foreclosure is the Florida Elderly Mortgage Assistance (ELMORE) program. This program offers as much as $50,000 to elderly homeowners who have reverse mortgages.
Keep reading to get an overview of the ELMORE program, find out if you’re eligible, and learn how to apply. (To learn about foreclosure procedures in Florida, and other aspects of foreclosure law in Florida, visit Nolo's Florida Foreclosure Law Center.)
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 federal Hardest Hit Fund.)
Florida was awarded over $1 billion in funds through the Hardest Hit Fund—and additional funding was approved in 2016—to help eligible homeowners avoid foreclosure. To do this, Florida set up its own Hardest-Hit Fund (HHF), which now includes the Florida Elderly Mortgage Assistance (ELMORE) program.
Under Florida’s ELMORE program, eligible homeowners who have reverse mortgages can get up to $50,000 to bring their property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, flood insurance and/or homeowners’ (or condominium owners’) association dues (property charges) current, to the extent that these property charges have been paid on behalf of the senior homeowner by the servicer of their reverse mortgage. The homeowner might also be eligible to get up to 12 months of future property charges paid on their behalf, as well.
Eligibility requirements for the ELMORE program include, but aren't limited to, the following:
Additionally, your existing mortgage and the property securing the mortgage must certain criteria, including:
You are not eligible for assistance through the ELMORE program if one of the below conditions applies to you.
Assistance from the ELMORE program is in the form of a 0%-interest, forgivable loan that’s junior to current mortgages on the home. (Learn about lien priority.) The loan is forgiven over two years at a rate of 50% per year.
If you sell the home before the two-year period ends, any unforgiven portion of the loan must be repaid or any net proceeds must go towards paying off the amount that hasn’t been forgiven yet.
To apply for assistance from the ELMORE program, call 800-601-3534.
A number of websites on the Internet purport to be Hardest-Hit Fund or ELMORE program application sites that ask you to pay for an eligibility determination in conjunction with applying for assistance. Applying for the ELMORE program is free, and only available through the ELMORE application and information line at 800-601-3534.