Foreclosures have become more commonplace than ever before. People aren’t surprised to see their neighbors moving out because they can no longer pay the mortgage. Many people were and still are, looking for a lifeline. Back in June, an attempt was made by the federal government to help some homeowners stuck in a tough financial situation with their loans. Since then, the program and its deadlines were extended.
Details on the Emergency Homeowners Loan Program (EHLP)
The original goal included presenting loans or up to $50,000 for qualified applicants. Instead of struggling each month to come up with a mortgage payment, the money from the loan would be used. Currently, there is no interest being charged on any of the loans and the payments go directly to the lender. The funds can be used to pay the monthly charge as well as late fees or even overdue payments.
The loan terms were set for two years and at the end of that time, 20% of the loan would be immediately forgiven. Each year that a person stays in their home, another 20% of the loan would diminish. After the two years of assistance, if a family could stay in their home for another five years, the entire amount of the loan would be forgiven. They would owe nothing.
At first, this seemed to be the perfect solution to a problem that was spiraling out of control. Once an applicant was approved, the foreclosure process would immediately stop. The goal was only to provide short-term aid that would make life a little easier for homeowners in the midst of a financial downturn.
The program and loans were designed to help people who were out of work or who had taken a pay cut and were not able to make their payments. Unfortunately, applicants for the program were consistently turned down for the loan because they did not have a job or did not make enough money to qualify.
The Effects of the Emergency Homeowners Loan Program
For the economy, the program provided a short-term solution that reached only a limited number of homeowners. Even as the program and its application dates continued to extend, it became obvious that this was not going to be the sweeping success that was originally promised.
Some homeowners will end up in worse financial shape if they are not able to remain in their homes for the next two years or even the five years following. They could end up owing more than their home is worth. Because of this, they might be unable to sell or refinance.
Most homeowners were never going to fall into this specific category for the federal government’s assistance. Many worked with the Home Affordable Modification Program instead to change their house payment to something more affordable. In most cases, the loans were never really reduced.
One of the most common solutions to being unable to afford a house payment was and still is, foreclosure or a short sale. After seeking out other solutions, many homeowners realized that there was no assistance available to them. Instead of struggling to keep their homes, they chose to get out from under one of their largest debts and began to put their financial lives back together again.