New Help for Jobless Illinois Homeowners

September 18, 2011

There is new mortgage assistance for some unemployed and underemployed Illinois and Chicago real estate owners.

About 15,000 Illinois residents will receive up to $25,000 in aid from the Hardest Hit Fund, which was designed to help Illinois homeowners whose incomes have fallen by at least 25 percent and who are in danger of losing their homes.

businessman holding a house in his handsThe loan is designed to bring those homeowners current on their delinquent mortgages and keep them current for up to 18 months.

The best part: If the homeowners meet all the program’s criteria, those loans do not have to be paid back.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be paying your mortgage: Participants must make monthly payments that equal 31 percent of their gross income, including jobless benefits.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority will cover the mortgage payment for up to 18 months at 100 percent until the maximum of $25,000 is hit.

In extremely dire circumstances, like when a jobless homeowner has exhausted all unemployment compensation, the IHDA will cover the entire mortgage payment.

There are eligibility requirements for participation, among them:

*Annual household income must be at or below 120 percent of the area median income.

*Homeowners can owe no more than $500,000 on their mortgages.

*Mortgages must and have a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate loan.

Homeowners turned down for the federal Home Affordable Modification Program can apply for assistance, but those approved for the HAMP program can’t get assistance from both.

Homeowners already in foreclosure also may be eligible for assistance, but your chances will be better if your foreclosure isn’t already almost complete.

The unemployment rate in Illinois jumped from 9.5 percent in July to 9.9 percent in August. That tied for the biggest one-month increase in the country. Nationally, the unemployment rate is 9.1 percent.

Let’s hope this program really works and keeps struggling Illinois and Chicago real estate owners in their homes.

“The economic downturn has left too many Illinois families at risk of losing their homes,” said Governor Quinn. “Everyone suffers when a home goes into foreclosure. The Illinois Hardest Hit program will help keep families in their homes, help them regain economic stability and keep our communities strong.”

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Categories: Economy, Featured, Mortgages

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