Washington, D.C.’s HomeSaver program, part of the federal Hardest Hit Fund, provides foreclosure avoidance assistance to eligible homeowners. If you qualify for the program, you’ll get money to get caught up on delinquent mortgage payments, pay future mortgage payments, pay off delinquent property taxes, or pay other property-related expenses that could lead to a foreclosure.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury created the Hardest Hit Fund in 2010 to provide money to those states that were most affected by the foreclosure crisis. The federal government gave $7.6 billion to 18 states and Washington, D.C. so they could establish foreclosure-prevention programs for their residents.
In 2016, the Hardest Hit Fund states collectively received another $2 billion, and then an another $1 billion, so they could offer additional assistance to homeowners. (To learn more about the Hardest Hit Fund in general, including which states have Hardest Hit programs, see Save Your Home From Foreclosure: Hardest Hit Fund Programs.)
With money from the federal Hardest Hit Fund, Washington, D.C. started a program called HomeSaver. HomeSaver offers two types of assistance for eligible homeowners: mortgage assistance and "restore" assistance.
This program gives money to homeowners so they can get current on a delinquent mortgage loan, as well as make payments going forward.
Financial help to reinstate the loan. Homeowners can get a one-time payment of up to nine months’ worth of payments to reinstate (get current on) a delinquent loan. To qualify, you must meet certain eligibility requirements (see below) and have:
Financial help to make future mortgage payments. The program provides up to 24 months’ worth of mortgage payments, up to $60,000, to unemployed or underemployed homeowners to make their upcoming mortgage payments. Again, you must meet particular eligibility requirements and have received unemployment benefits within six months of your application (unemployed applicants) or have experienced an involuntary reduction of income of at least 10% within the past 12 months (underemployed applicants).
This option provides eligible homeowners with a one-time payment, up to $60,000, to get caught up on delinquent property-related expenses, like mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners’ association fees, condominium owners’ association fees, and hazard insurance.
To qualify, you must be able to keep up with the future payments and meet other eligibility requirements.
The eligibility requirements for each program vary and are quite extensive. Generally, you must meet the basic criteria listed here, and additional ones as well.
To get information about the specific requirements and exclusions for the different programs, go to the HomeSaver website to review the program "Fact Sheets," call 202-777-1690, or fill out this contact form.
Eligible homeowners receive assistance in the form of a nonrecourse and nonamortizing loan, which is recorded as a junior lien on the property. The loan is forgiven at a rate of 20% each year. On the fifth anniversary date of the loan closing, the lien is removed from the home.
You'll have to repay the loan, though, if you sell, refinance, or no longer occupy the home before the loan is forgiven—but only if you have equity in the property.
You don’t have to pay a fee to get help from the HomeSaver program. If someone tries to charge you a fee to help you apply to the program, for counseling services, or to get a loan modification, it’s most likely a scam. (Read about common scams that target homeowners who’re behind in mortgage payments in Foreclosure Rescue Scams to Avoid.)
To apply for help from the HomeSaver program, go to the application page on the HomeSaver website.
If you need information about how foreclosures in Washington, D.C. work or want to find out about possible defenses to a foreclosure in your situation, consider talking to a foreclosure attorney. If you want to learn more about different alternatives to foreclosure, like loan modifications, short sales, and deeds in lieu of foreclosure, contact a HUD-approved housing counselor.