Thursday, April 28, 2011

Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Emergency Mortgage Assistance for Unemployed Homeowners

Announces $40 million in federal assistance to continue fighting foreclosures in Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, MD - April 4, 2011 - (RealEstateRama) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced a $40 million program to assist homeowners in addressing back mortgage payments. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the goal of helping homeowners who are facing foreclosure due to job loss or a decrease in wages, including those who lost income due to illness.
“Even as we move beyond the fallout of the subprime mortgage and predatory lending crisis, there are still too many families in our State struggling to make ends meet,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Thanks to our federal partners, this program will strengthen an important safety net for unemployed homeowners and protect the investment they made in the American dream.”
“The Emergency Homeowner Loan Program will provide limited and targeted assistance to help working families get back on their feet and keep their home while they look for work,” said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan. “We are pleased to get the program off the ground in Maryland, which is already working to help keep families in their homes during difficult economic times.”
The new program provides assistance in the payment of up to 12 months of overdue debt, including delinquent taxes and insurance, and up to 24 months going forward, with a maximum combined total of $50,000.
“This program is welcome news for the countless people in Maryland who are going through these difficult times,” said Congressman Elijah Cummings. “I helped create the bridge loan program to help everyday, hard-working Americans; the same folks who we all see everyday in our neighborhoods. Now, many of them will be able to get the help they have so desperately asked for, straight from the government.”
“Too many families are still struggling to find employment and hold onto their homes,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “This program will allow Maryland families to avoid foreclosure until they can get back on their feet.”
“This means that homeowners who lost their jobs through no fault of their own will may get the breathing room they need in order to find new employment and get back on track financially,” said Raymond S. Skinner, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
Eligible homeowners include those who:
  • Are experiencing a loss of employment income because of the economy or a medical condition.  Homeowner(s) must have a current income that is at least 15% less than it was prior to the loss of employment.
  • Are 3-12 months delinquent on their mortgage payments and pending foreclosure. It must be the first mortgage on the principal residence of the homeowner.
  • Have a total household income equal to, or less than, 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI), including wages, unemployment benefits, and other income.  (See for AMI chart.)
  • Have a reasonable likelihood (based on industry underwriting standards) of being able to resume mortgage payments within 2 years, when full employment has been regained.
Prospective applicants must meet certain prequalification requirements. Homeowners will be able to access assistance in this process through specially-trained housing counseling agencies approved by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and at various foreclosure prevention events.
Maryland will begin to take applications immediately. Homeowners can get more details on Maryland’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program by visiting the HOPE website at or by calling the HOPE hotline (877) 462-7555 to find a housing counselor in their area for free counseling and assistance.
Since 2007, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has aggressively worked to fight the foreclosure crisis. Maryland has passed what the Washington Post called some of the most “sweeping” legislation in the country, giving distressed homeowners more time to work out alternatives to foreclosure. The State has also taken the lead in enacting tough new laws against predatory lending practices. The Administration has reached agreements with multiple mortgage servicing companies to create a streamlined and transparent loss mitigation process; and through Judge Bell, over 1,000 pro bono attorneys have been recruited to assist vulnerable families. In 2010, DLLR secured $2.5 million in refunds from financial institutions for consumers. In February, Maryland foreclosures reached their lowest levels since April 2007. February foreclosures were down more than 15 percent from January and more than 77 percent compared to the same period last year, according to RealtyTrac. Maryland recorded the second largest rate of decline in the country. The MD HOPE Housing Counseling network has aided more than 55,000 homeowners at risk of foreclosure since the crisis arose.
April 4, 2011

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urband Development just recently announced a great program to help homeowners pay for energy improvements


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urband Development just recently announced a great program to help homeowners pay for energy improvements in their homes.  If you have been considering the best way to make improvements to lower your energy consumption costs you may want to take a look at this program and see if you can participate in it as well.  Please share this with your friends or family who might want to know about this program as well.  Here is the article directly from the website.
FHA PowerSaver Program to offer low-cost financing to credit-worthy borrowers

WASHINGTON – Eighteen national, regional and local lenders will participate in a new two-year pilot program that will offer qualified borrowers living in certain parts of the country low-cost loans to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these new PowerSaver loans will offer homeowners up to $25,000 to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice, including the installation of insulation, duct sealing, replacement doors and windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels, and geothermal systems.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the participating lenders (see attached list) during a tour of a family-run company that offers home energy audits and upgrades in Long Island, New York.

“We believe the market is right for a low-cost financing option for families who want energy-saving technologies in their home,” said Secretary Donovan. “PowerSaver hits on all cylinders by helping credit-worthy homeowners finance these upgrades, cut their energy bills and boost the local job market in the process. While FHA and these lenders are jumpstarting this pilot, we hope its success will lead to a growing private sector interest in making these types of loans.”

Secretary Chu said, “Today, we are breaking down barriers and making energy efficiency more accessible and more affordable. It’s the right thing to do for our environment, for our economy and for the pocketbooks of American families.”
The remodeling industry cites surveys that point to a growing demand among homeowners interested in making their homes energy efficient. Yet options are still limited for financing home energy improvements, especially for the many homeowners who are unable to take out a home equity loan or access an affordable consumer loan. Initially, the PowerSaver pilot program is estimated to assist approximately 30,000 homeowners to finance energy-efficient upgrades though higher market demand may increase this impact. According to HUD projections, more than 3,000 jobs will be created through this pilot program and the impact may be larger if market demand for the loan program increases over time.

Participating lenders are largely selected based on their commitment to work in partnership with established home energy retrofit programs provided by states, cities, utilities and home performance contractors. These markets include, but are not limited to areas of the country participating in the Energy Department’s Better Building Program.

PowerSaver loans will be backed by the FHA but require these lenders to have significant “skin in the game.” FHA mortgage insurance will cover up to 90 percent of the loan amount in the event of default. Lenders will retain the remaining risk on each loan, incentivizing responsible underwriting and lending standards.

PowerSaver has been carefully designed to meet a need in the marketplace for borrowers who have the ability and motivation to take on modest additional debt to realize the savings over time from home energy improvements. PowerSaver loans are only available to borrowers with good credit, manageable debt and at least some equity in their home (maximum 100% combined loan-to-value).
HUD developed PowerSaver as part of the Recovery Through Retrofit initiative launched in May 2009 by Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force to develop federal actions that would expand green job opportunities in the United States and boost energy savings by improving home energy efficiency. The announcement is part of an interagency effort including 11 departments and agencies and six White House offices.

Read the FHA PowerSaver fact sheet.

FHA PowerSaver Approved Lenders
Admirals Bank
AFC First Financial Corporation
Bank of Colorado
City of Boise, Idaho
Energy Finance Solutions
Enterprise Cascadia
HomeStreet Bank
Neighbor's Financial Corporation
Paramount Equity Mortgage, Inc.
Quicken Loans
SOFCU Community Credit Union
Stonegate Mortgage Corporation
Sun West Mortgage Company, Inc.
The Bank at Broadmoor
University of Virginia Community Credit Union, Inc.
Viewtech Financial Services, Inc.
WinTrust Mortgage
W. J. Bradley Mortgage Capital Corporation