by Senator Ken Yager
September 5, 2012 — There is hardly anyone in our region that has not been affected by the economic recession in some manner. The last several years have been especially tough for our region as unemployment has been far too high. Unfortunately, one of the most difficult side effects of unemployment is mortgage foreclosure, which is very tough on families who are already struggling to keep their head above water.
There is hope for these homeowners through the “Keep My Tennessee Home” program which aims to give families suffering job loss a hand up to keep them in their homes. Tennessee was one of 18 states plus the District of Columbia that have received federal “Hardest Hit” Funds. The funds are being administered to eligible homeowners through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA). The program provides loans to unemployed and underemployed homeowners who, through no fault of their own, cannot pay their mortgage payments and are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.
Upon approval, the program helps homeowners with their mortgage payments and other related expenses like property taxes and insurance. It also assists homeowners in meeting past-due mortgage payments that have accumulated during a period of unemployment. The program pays up to 18 months of back mortgage payments for qualified homeowners to help them avoid foreclosure.
In order to qualify the homeowner must meet the following requirements:
- He or she must be unemployed or underemployed (a 30% reduction of income) through no fault of their own.
- The event or incident which results in unemployment or substantial underemployment must have occurred after Jan. 1, 2008.
- The homeowner must have a mortgage for a single-family home or condominium (attached or detached) in Tennessee that they occupy as their primary residence, including manufactured homes on foundations permanently affixed to real estate that they own.
- The family or combined income amount of the homeowner’s mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance must be greater than 31% of your household income after the job loss/reduction of income.
- The homeowner must not have more than six months’ reserves of liquid assets, that is, liquid assets equal to six months of their mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance.
- The household income must be less than $92,680.
- The homeowner’s total unpaid principal balance must not exceed $275,000.
Helping those who have lost their jobs stay in their home is important to all of us. Homeownership is a key factor to stronger, healthier communities. It gives children the security they need to become healthier and more productive citizens. This program helps homeowners who have encountered tough times due to the economy overcome some of the hurdles they face until they can get back on their feet.
To find out more about the program go to www.KeepMyTNHome.org or dial toll free 1-855-890-8073.