Florida Hardest-Hit & Principal Reduction Program
The federal government has allocated funding to help pay the mortgages of qualified homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed through no fault of their own.
The Florida Hardest-Hit Fund (HHF) program aims to assist qualified Florida homeowners by providing mortgage assistance for up to12 months (capped at $24,000), or until the homeowner finds adequate employment to resume paying the mortgage (whichever comes first) with up to $18,000 available to reinstate a delinquent first mortgage prior to payments being made. Additionally, for a homeowner who is recovering from unemployment/underemployment, up to $25,000 is available as a one-time payment to reinstate a delinquent first mortgage. HHF assistance is paid directly to the loan service/lender for those homeowners deemed eligible to participate in the program.
To find out if you qualify for assistance, please visit the HHF official website at www.FLHardestHitHelp.org to review eligibility criteria and to apply. For further questions, contact the Hardest-Hit Toll-Free Information line at 1-(877) 863-5244, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The principal reduction program has opened again for applications. This is a very important opportunity for many homeowners. This is not your typical refinance program.
Florida homeowners who have remained current on their mortgages may apply for federal assistance from the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Principal Reduction (HHF-PR) Program. The online application, www.PrincipalReductionFLHHF.org, is open and available in all 67 counties.
$350 million in federal Hardest-Hit funds allocated to Florida are being used specifically for a principal reduction program. For those who qualify, this program can help to reduce their principal balance, which can result in a lower monthly payment.
The Florida HHF-PR program is designed to provide up to $50,000 to eligible homeowners who owe at least 125% more on their home than its current market value—commonly known as having a home that is “underwater.” Funds will be applied to reduce the principal balance of the first mortgage thereby reducing the loan-to-value (LTV) of to no less than 100%. The mortgage can then be recast (re-amortized) or refinanced to produce a lower monthly mortgage payment.
The minimum qualifications a homeowner must meet to be considered for participation in the Florida HHF-PR program are as follows:
- Must be a Florida resident and a legal US resident/legal alien, and occupy the property as the primary residence
- Must be current on the monthly mortgage payment—first mortgage payment cannot have been 60 or more days late within the past 24 months
- The first mortgage must have originated prior to January 1, 2010
- The unpaid principal balance for the first mortgage cannot exceed $350,000
- The loan-to-value for the first mortgage must be greater than 125%—in other words, home must be more than 125% “underwater”
- The total household income, including all persons age 18 years and older who live in the home, must be less than 140% of the area median income.
Principal reduction program funds will be in the form of a 0% percent, deferred-payment loan that will be subordinate to current mortgages on the home. The loan can be forgiven over a five-year period, at a rate of 20% each year. For conventional mortgages, once HHF-PR funds are applied to the principal, the mortgage will be recast (the terms of the loans will remain the same, but the loan will be re-amortized).
Homeowners in every Florida county may apply for the Florida HHF-PR program by using the official website: www.PrincipalReductionFLHHF.org. The site contains all the information users will need to begin the application process, including a program fact sheet and answers to frequently asked questions.