New Jersey Homeowners Not Utilizing HomeKeeper Program

New Jersey homeowners know times have been tough in recent years. Many homeowners have struggled to find assistance with making mortgage payments that are necessary to avoid losing their homes. However, statistics show that New Jersey homeowners are not taking advantage of a program intended to help them out.

The program, known as the HomeKeeper program, was funded by the federal bailout. The $300 million fund is run by the state and was launched 15 months ago. Unfortunately, the failure of the program to assist large numbers of people has led many in New Jersey to seek other options, such as bankruptcy.

HomeKeeper Program

The HomeKeeper program is designed to provide forgivable, no-interest mortgage loans to homeowners who have always paid their mortgages on time, but now face a job loss or reduced wages and are in danger of losing their home. These loans are intended to give the homeowners necessary time to find new employment or seek additional job training.

However, currently only 10 percent of the money has been spent to help only 750 families. This means only 7.49 percent of the available funds have been used so far. Additionally, the U.S. inspector general claims that New Jersey has received the lowest percentage of the federal funding available out of the 18 hardest hit states.

These numbers are especially strange considering New Jersey has one of the highest percentages of mortgage loans in foreclosure in the United States. New Jersey also has the fourth highest percentage of overdue mortgage loans.

Reasons for the low numbers include slow response time, lack of outreach, and strict rules that disqualify certain needy households. The long wait time may be attributed to the fact that the program initially started with fewer than five employees who worked out of different offices. Additionally, the state Supreme Court became involved in the process last year, requiring banks to verify that they were following proper procedures. This caused a backlog in foreclosures that the banks are now attempting to sort out.

In addition to programs like HomeKeeper, bankruptcy is also a sensible solution for many homeowners with a large amount of debt. There are many advantages to filing for bankruptcy. After filing for bankruptcy, harassment from creditors immediately stops. Foreclosure proceedings are also immediately halted.

Bankruptcy can also help New Jersey homeowners avoid home foreclosure and even eliminate second or third mortgages. An individual who feels bankruptcy can provide necessary relief can benefit from a skilled bankruptcy attorney. The attorney can provide guidance on bankruptcy filing procedures and assist with making a new financial start.