Struggling homeowners in Central Oregon, take note: Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is gearing up to accept applications for its new $100 million Mortgage Payment Assistance (MPA) program. As part of the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative (OHSI, Oregon’s new foreclosure prevention program), MPA was established to help at least 5,000 Oregon homeowners pay their mortgages for up to one year, or $20,000, whichever comes first. To qualify, a homeowner’s household income cannot be equal to or more than 120 percent of state median income and the homeowner must be unemployed or have a verifiable loss in income of 25 percent or more.
MPA payments will be five-year, forgivable, interest-free, non-recourse loans, and OHSI will defer all payments and forgive 20 percent of the balance each year (MPA recipients who refinance or sell their homes within five years may be required to repay some of the assistance).
Funding for the MPA program comes from the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, which was established earlier this year to provide aid to homeowners in states hit hard by the economic and housing market downturn. The Treasury awarded $220 million in foreclosure prevention resources to Oregon.
On Dec. 10, OHCS will open an online application for the MPA program at www.oregonhomeownerhelp.org. Online applications will be accepted for one month. The state will then conduct a random drawing to select MPA recipients (the program is not first-come, first-serve). Partner organizations will provide resources and assistance to homeowners as they complete the application. Central Oregon’s partner is NeighborImpact.
The MPA website features detailed information about the program, including a brief history of the OHSI and Oregon’s allocations from the Hardest Hit Fund, who qualifies for the MPA, an online test to see if you qualify, details on how to apply for the program, a list of the program’s exclusions, and links to other websites that provide foreclosure prevention information.
Additional OHSI programs are expected to be unveiled early next year. If you’d like to stay informed about those programs, you can sign up for email updates at www.oregonhomeownerhelp.org.
If you need immediate foreclosure prevention help, please call the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE (4673).
About the Author:
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Redmond and Bend.