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Jun 03

Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Offers Relief for Underemployed Homeowners

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm by Dawn Corrigan

In February 2010, the US Treasury allocated funds under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to assist with stabilization and foreclosure prevention efforts in the regions that were hit hardest by the U.S. housing market crash. Additional funds were allocated for this effort several more times throughout 2010, creating a federal fund of more than $7.6 billion.

As one of the states most impacted by both the housing bubble and the economic crisis, Florida received more than $1 billion of these funds. Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), the state housing agency, was instructed by the Treasury to use a portion of these funds to assist homeowners experiencing unemployment or under-employment.

As of November 2013, Florida had distributed only 26% of its designated funds. And, although FHFC set outreach and application goals during Fall 2013 to try to increase enrollment in the program, assistance is still available, and applications are still being accepted today.

Florida’s fund that offers relief to unemployed or under-employed homeowners is known as the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund. There are two types of program assistance currently available:

  • The Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP). This program is for homeowners who are still under- or unemployed, or have experienced a 10-percent reduction in household income because of economic factors. It offers a forgivable loan that can be used for up to 12 months, with a cap of $24,000, to make monthly payments toward a first mortgage and mortgage-related expenses such as property taxes, homeowner insurance, and mortgage insurance. In addition, for homeowners who are delinquent on their first mortgage at the time when they qualify for UMAP, up to $18,000 may be available to pay toward past due amounts, making the total assistance available under this program up to $42,000.

  • The Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment Program (MLRP). This program is for homeowners who got behind on the first mortgage while they were unemployed, underemployed, or experienced at least a 10-percent reduction in household income, but who now have enough household income to make their current mortgage payments. This program offers a forgivable loan that is used to make a one-time payment toward bringing a delinquent mortgage current. Total assistance available under this program is up to $25,000.

For both types of assistance, funds are provided in the form of a 0% interest, deferred-payment loan secured by a lien on the property. The loan is forgiven at a rate of 20% per year over a 5-year period starting 18 months after acceptance into the program.

There are additional eligibility requirements regarding the homeowner, the property, and the mortgage. Homeowners who think they may qualify for one of these programs and who would like more information should visit the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund website,

Please note: FHFC has warned the public that scams have arisen regarding this program. There are websites on the Internet designed to resemble the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund site, but that will attempt to charge fees in exchange for assistance. Neither FHFC nor its authorized representatives will ever require fees to apply for the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund programs, or to determine an individual’s eligibility. Once an applicant has completed and submitted a Florida Hardest-Hit application, FHFC will assign an authorized Advisor (who may be a nonprofit, a realtor, or another business entity) to guide the applicant through the review process, answer any questions about the program, and assist the applicant with submitting changes to the application if necessary. There will never be any charges or fees associated with this process.

In addition to the official Florida Hardest-Hit Fund site,, the legal do-it-yourself website NOLO: Law for All has a good, clearly written overview of the program available here:

Pensacola Housing encourages local homeowners who have questions about the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund to contact Tracy Pickens in the Housing Office at 858-0318.