About 14 million people nationwide will call in a ‘Super Bowl sick day’ today.  Even St. Johns County schools have made it a holiday.  But if you are already unemployed and struggling to pay your mortgage, you have a much bigger hangover.  For Florida residents who are unemployed or underemployed, the Hardest Hit Fund may be the headache medicine for their mortgage.

The Hardest Hit Fund was an allocation of Federal money given to five states (Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, and Nevada) that had experienced excessive housing market depreciation.  The funds are designated to assist in foreclosure prevention, and targeted at those workers who are unemployed, underemployed, just returning to work, or recovering from underemployment.  The Hardest Hit Fund started in April 2011 statewide in Florida.  It offers foreclosure prevention through two programs:

1. Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP) will provide up to 12 months of payments (with a cap of $24,000) to the mortgage lender to assist unemployed or underemployed borrowers with their first mortgage until they can resume full payments on their own. In addition, up to $18,000 can be paid to help satisfy all or some of any past due amounts owed; this assistance will be paid prior to the UMAP payments beginning and cannot exceed $18,000 total. Any past due amounts over and above the $18,000 are the responsibility of the homeowner. Total assistance available is up to $42,000.

2. Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment (MLRP) Program will be used as a one-time payment to help satisfy all or some of any past due amounts owed on the first mortgage, only. This assistance cannot exceed $25,000 total, and any past due amounts over and above the $25,000 are the responsibility of the homeowner.

Eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Must be a Florida resident and a legal US resident/legal alien;
  • Must occupy property as primary residence;
  • Must be unemployed or underemployed, with at least a 10 percent reduction in income.

Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund is locally administered through St. Johns Housing Partnership.  To learn more, visit their website at http://www.sjhp.org/what-we-do/keep/hardesthitinflorida.