GRANITE CITY – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, joined local officials and homeowners Thursday at Justine Peterson Housing and Reinvestment Corporation to announce the relaunch of the Hardest Hit Fund program in Illinois and share information on how struggling homeowners can take advantage of the federal program.
The program reopened to homeowners in Illinois this month and provides mortgage assistance to families struggling to make mortgage payments due to loss of income.
“When a home goes into foreclosure, the family suffers and the entire neighborhood is impacted. It has become clear that we still have work to do to address the problems in the housing market and bring stability back to our communities,” Durbin said. “I supported the creation and funding of the Hardest Hit Fund at the height of the housing crisis, and I continue to support the program today. I encourage those that find themselves on the brink of foreclosure or struggling to make their mortgage payments to take advantage of these programs.”
“When the American dream of homeownership faces a formidable obstacle of retention, programs like the Hardest Hit Fund are key to preserving the dream,” said Robert Boyle, CEO of Justine Petersen Housing and Reinvestment Corporation, “Not only does the household become at risk, but the community as a whole.”
HHF was established in February 2010 to provide targeted aid to families in states hit hard by the economic and housing market downturn. This year, Illinois received an additional $269 million in HHF funding to transform communities that are still facing economic challenges. Durbin advocated for these funds to be included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016, which was signed into law in December 2015.
The program, which is designed and administered in Illinois by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, provides eligible homeowners with up to $35,000 in temporary mortgage assistance. HHF assistance is provided as a five-year forgivable loan and funds may have to be repaid to IHDA if the owner sells the home at a profit or refinances during the five-year loan term.
Applicants must have experienced a 15 percent reduction in income due to a qualifying hardship event that was through no fault of their own, such as: unemployment; underemployment; decrease or loss of business income; loss of income due to disability or health-related event; death of spouse or title holder and divorce of spouse or title holder. The hardship must have occurred after Jan. 1, 2010 and after the purchase of the property.
Illinois’ foreclosure rate is among the worst in the country, with more than 13,000 completed foreclosures within the last 12 months, and a serious delinquency rate of 3.3 percent. One of 882 families in Illinois are in some state of foreclosure.
Madison and St. Clair counties have experienced slightly higher foreclosure rates than the state, with one of 862 families in some sort of foreclosure in Madison County and one of 697 families in some sort of foreclosure in St. Clair County.
Since HHF was launched, IHDA has provided more than $339 million in mortgage assistance to over 14,000 Illinois homeowners from 100 counties across the state, including 240 homeowners in Madison County.
For those interested in mortgage assistance through HHF, free applications for the program are available online through IHDA’s Illinois Hardest Hit website: https://www.illinoishardesthit.org/.
— From the Illinois Business Journal