akali-dennie_web.jpgRon has been gaining a few extra pounds, and recently discovered some gray in his usually perfectly trimmed beard. His wife, Valerie, is going through something similar, but even worse. She has experienced the onset of adult acne for the first time since adolescence.

What happened to Ron and Val is the same thing that happens to hundreds of thousands of good people in America who are facing foreclosure.

Sadly, stress is one of many conditions that affect homeowners struggling with foreclosure. Additionally, foreclosure statistics continue to rise steadily with 250,000 new families entering foreclosure every three months.

Like many others, Val and Ron are the proud owners of a single-family home in a residential community, where they have lived with their three children for the past four years. For many years, they have paid their monthly mortgage, paid their taxes, and lived the so called “American dream.”  Their monthly mortgage payment of $1,560 is about to go up to $2,100 in the next two months if they do not refinance.

The problem is that no bank wants to assist them, since their property has declined in value and they now owe more than their home is worth. Without some help, Ron and Val will most certainly face foreclosure and ultimately lose their home.

I am sure this sounds all too familiar for many people out there. What is the government’s response to all of that? It is called the “Hardest Hit Fund Program.”

President Obama approved $1.5 billion, in addition to the Home Affordable Modification Program, to states that were hardest hit by the housing crisis
and foreclosure, including Florida.  This aid will support innovative local initiatives to assist struggling homeowners, not only in Florida, but also in Arizona, California, Michigan and Nevada.

“These states have identified a number of innovative programs that will make a real difference in the lives of many homeowners facing foreclosure,” said Herbert M. Allison Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability of the United States.

While we've made important progress stabilizing the housing market and keeping responsible families in their homes, the Obama Administration will continue to do everything it can to help those who are struggling the most during this difficult time.

Today marks an important milestone for delivering relief to homeowners through the Hardest Hit Fund program. Florida will receive $418 million, and will provide mortgage assistance for those unemployed or underemployed while they look for work.

Additionally, the state will offer principal reduction or second lien extinguishment, if necessary, to achieve a mortgage modification.

So, if you need temporary mortgage assistance while you look for a job or mortgage modification, this program may be for you. Anyone interested in this program must meet certain eligibility criteria, and should contact the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to apply.

This new program will add much-needed resources to all those who are looking to keep their home and make their payments more affordable.

Akali Dennie is the branch manager of Freedom Mortgage in Sunny Isles Beach, and has many years of experience in the mortgage arena. He can be reached at adenine@fmbranch.com.