How to Get Government Help to Stop a Foreclosure
Owning a home is a major accomplishment that comes with huge responsibilities. If unforeseen financial trouble can lead to missed mortgage payments and enormous anxiety. Feelings of dread and uncertainty may tempt you to simply ignore the problem – but do so and you risk losing your home. The good news is that there are a variety of free government programs that can help you stop a foreclosure. If you are facing foreclosure and don't know where to turn for help, read on to learn about government resources that may be able to help you.
How Can Government Programs Help Me?
Government programs can provide important services to overwhelmed homeowners, including free information, counseling, and mediation. Getting information about stopping foreclosures is an important first step. Government programs typically offer helpful resources, including FAQs, information about foreclosure alternatives available to you, and guides on how to avoid scams. Government programs can even provide free housing counseling to help you communicate with your lender and determine which options are best for you based on your specific circumstances. Some state courts also offer mediation programs to help homeowners either stay in their homes or negotiate a reasonable exit.
Federal Foreclosure Resources
Foreclosure assistance resources are available through federal, state, and local governments. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers free foreclosure avoidance counseling. From the HUD website, you can browse by state to find HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in your area.
In addition, the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program is part of President Obama's comprehensive Homeowner and Affordability and Stability Plan introduced following the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The MHA is a broad strategy to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. While some of the federal programs through the MHA expired at the end of 2016, a HUD-approved counselor can explain which federal programs continue to offer foreclosure assistance and may be helpful to you.
Foreclosure Help from State and Local Governments
State and local governments also offer various programs to help homeowners stop a foreclosure. Some examples of these programs are:
- Washington State has free foreclosure counseling, assistance, and mediation for Washington residents.
- North Carolina has a Foreclosure Prevention Fund for those struggling to make mortgage payments due to temporary financial hardship. The Fund also helps veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.
- New York State created a Foreclosure Relief Unit for homeowners at risk of foreclosure or already in foreclosure. New York even has a Mobile Command Center, which visits communities disproportionally impacted by foreclosure.
- The California Housing Finance Agency offers free assistance programs to California homeowners experiencing financial hardship.
- Cook County, Illinois, offers a Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation program through the Superior Court to offer critical services to homeowners in the foreclosure process.
There are many more state and local programs out there. Find out how your own state's foreclosure resources can help you.
Contact a Foreclosure Attorney
When it comes to an impending foreclosure, time is of the essence and immediate action is critical. Some people find the idea of dealing with foreclosure so overwhelming that it's hard to know what to do first. For this reason, it's usually a good idea to talk to an experienced attorney, who can help you simplify the process. Find out more about government programs and other foreclosure options by contacting a local foreclosure attorney.