New Jersey HomeKeeper Program
Many people have felt the impact of the recession due to unemployment or underemployment. You may be asking, what is being done to help? New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency has announced a new program to help those at risk of losing their home. The program is called New Jersey HomeKeeper and it will be available starting May 9, 2011.
New Jersey HomeKeeper is a program funded through a federal grant from the United States Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund awarded to States most impacted by unemployment and underemployment. The HomeKeeper offers help to New Jersey homeowners who may be facing foreclosure as a direct result of unemployment or underemployment.
The Homekeeper Program is designed to assist the homeowner with mortgage assistance payment and/or arrearages to prevent an occurrence of foreclosure on the home. The program provides financial assistance to qualified homeowners in the form of a 0% interest rate, deferred-payment second mortgage loan. The loan proceeds may be used to cover arrearages and/or a portion of the homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment, including property taxes, property insurance, and mortgage insurance. Homeowners may be eligible for up to $48,000 in assistance for a period of up to 24 months.
If a homeowner sells or refinances their home within the first five years of the closing date of the HomeKeeper mortgage loan, the full amount of the loan will be due and payable upon the sale, transfer or refinance of the property (except for a lower rate/term refinance) or, if the homeowner ceases to occupy the property as his/her primary residence. However, after the fifth year, the HomeKeeper mortgage loan amount would be forgiven 20% per year, to be forgiven in full at the end of the tenth year.
You may be eligible for the Homekeeper program, if within the past 12 months, through no fault, decision or personal circumstance of your own, you or your spouse or civil union partner fall into one of the following category:
- Became unemployed which caused you to fall behind on your mortgage. You are receiving or are eligible to receive unemployment compensation
benefits and may have at least 12 more weeks of benefits remaining.
- Became underemployed (a drop in income of at least 25% from prior or existing employment income) which caused you to fall behind on your mortgage.
- Became unemployed or underemployed. While you have stayed current with your mortgage payments thus far, you have not yet regained enough income/resources to continue paying on time for much longer.
- Became unemployed or underemployed. You have since regained enough income to pay the mortgage but you need help covering the arrearages that accumulated during the unemployment/underemployment period
To apply for Homekeeper assistance you will need to apply online using a computer with internet access. The online application(available May 9th) contains all of the information that you will need to begin your application for assistance, with step by step instructions and prompts to help you.
If you do not have access to the internet from your residence, public computers can be found throughout many communities at public libraries, educational centers and One Stop Career Centers.
For more information or to apply visit: www.njhomekeeper.gov
Resources for assistance with foreclosures, credit and debt problems
New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
Novadebt – A Garden State Consumer Credit Counseling Agency
Consumer Credit and Budget Counseling, Inc.
To find a One Stop Career Center in your County, contact your County Office on Aging, see list on our website at www.njfoundationforaging.org/services.html
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