Hawaii Widens Assistance Fund To Include Reverse Mortgage Borrowers

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Hawaii Widens Assistance Fund To Include Reverse Mortgage Borrowers

Jun 30, 2023 | News | 0 comments

The Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) program offered by the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) has recently broadened its eligibility requirements to encompass reverse mortgage borrowers. This change aligns the program with similar initiatives implemented in other states, and it has been recognized by the federal government as the most suitable form of assistance for individuals with reverse mortgages.

The financial support provided through the American Rescue Plan Act, passed in 2021, aims to provide aid to homeowners who experienced financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and struggled with housing payments.

In addition to extending relief to reverse mortgage borrowers in Hawaii, the expanded eligibility criteria bring several significant changes. Firstly, the maximum assistance amount per household is doubled, increasing from $30,000 to $60,000. Secondly, forward payment mortgage assistance is now available for a period of 12 months. Lastly, homeowners no longer need to be in arrears to qualify for assistance.

Homeowners residing in the state of Hawaii who were previously denied HAF assistance are encouraged to review the expanded eligibility criteria and consider reapplying if they believe they now meet the new requirements. The HAF program is currently accessible in three counties: Oahu, Hawaii County, and Kauai County.

Regarding Maui County, after a request for proposal failed to receive a response, the state is actively exploring alternative options to establish the program on that specific island.

To date, the adoption of HAF programs by affected homeowners has been relatively low. In March, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) took measures to remind mortgage servicers that HAF assistance remains accessible for borrowers who are at risk of mortgage default due to the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Gail Balettie, Senior Vice President of Client Satisfaction at Celink, mortgage servicers are in regular communication with state HAF programs. In fact, some state programs have even increased the maximum funding amounts available to individual households.

In March, Gail Balettie, Senior Vice President of Client Satisfaction at Celink, stated that the state HAF programs actively seek out eligible borrowers. Balettie advised individuals facing default in taxes and insurance to apply and explore the potential assistance their state can offer.