Change can be good, especially when it involves coming to the aid of a struggling homeowner.
Keep Your Home California has expanded its Reverse Mortgage Assistance Pilot Program, allowing more senior homeowners at risk of foreclosure because of past-due property expenses to qualify for as much as $25,000 in assistance.
The pilot program is now available to low and moderate income senior homeowners who have proprietary reverse mortgages. Previously, only homeowners with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) were eligible for program consideration. .
Keep Your Home California also recently streamlined the counseling process, allowing homeowners to receive the mortgage assistance much faster.
The pilot program, which started in early 2015, was established to help homeowners 62 years or older who are at risk of losing their home to foreclosure after getting behind on their reverse mortgage property-related expenses.
“The taxes are so high, and they go up every year. I just didn’t have enough income.” Verna H.
Although homeowners receive income from reverse mortgages, they are still responsible for property-related expenses, including property taxes and homeowners insurance. And fast-rising home prices have a financial effect on senior homeowners with reverse mortgages, especially those who live on fixed incomes.
“The taxes are so high, and they go up every year,” says Verna H., who bought her home in Southern California in 2005 and received a reverse mortgage on the property two years later. “I just didn’t have enough income.”
It’s an all-too common concern for senior homeowners. But Keep Your Home California’s reverse mortgage assistance program definitely helps.
“It saved our lives,” says Joanne H., a homeowner with a reverse mortgage in Central California who has benefited from Keep Your Home California. “The weight it took off … you just don’t know. We were going to lose our home.”
Keep Your Home California’s Reverse Mortgage Assistance Pilot Program has helped Verna, Joanne and many other seniors avoid foreclosure and get back on solid financial ground.
“It was a real lifesaver to me,” says Jeanette M., who moved into her Southern California home in 1999 and received a reverse mortgage several years ago. After her husband passed away, her already tight budget became even more difficult. “It was not a pretty picture. We were way in the hole.”
The details about the program
Special counseling from a HUD approved nonprofit agency allows seniors to assess their financial situation and helps them manage their delinquent property-related expenses. In addition to reinstating qualifying homeowners’ past-due expenses, the Reverse Mortgage Assistance Pilot Program can also provide up to 12 months of additional assistance for future expenses, in order to help get homeowners back on their feet. Senior homeowners must meet county-by-county income limits and be able to document an eligible financial hardship such as — loss of income, a divorce, a death in the family or extraordinary medical expenses – in order to qualify for the free mortgage-assistance program.
Homeowners must also live in the home with the reverse mortgage and demonstrate their ability to make the property expenses going forward.
“People are scared because they don’t think the program can help, but it’s not that way,” says program recipient Jennie M., who lives in Central California. “It’s a positive step that can help you.”
Homeowners seeking assistance should contact their reverse mortgage servicer to begin the application process for the reverse mortgage program. Fifteen mortgage servicers participate in the program: American Advisors Group; Celink; Champion; Financial Freedom; James B. Nutter; Liberty Home Equity Solutions in Michigan and Texas; Live Well Financial Inc.; Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC; Plaza Home Mortgage Inc.; Reverse Mortgage Funding (RMF); Reverse Mortgage Solutions (RMS); SunWest; Urban Financial of America and Wells Fargo.
Keep Your Home California has set aside about $10 million for the program, enough to help about 830 seniors. The average senior homeowner will receive about $13,000. As of December 31, 2016, 537 homeowners received $6.7 million in assistance through the program.
If you would like more information about the Reverse Mortgage Assistance Pilot Program, please visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org. Homeowners more comfortable with Spanish should visit www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org.