What is being done about the wave of mortgage foreclosures in Ohio?
The U.S. Department of Treasury recently announced that Ohio will be provided with another $96.6 million under the “Hardest Hit Fund,” a federal program designed to help states recover from the foreclosure debacle stemming from the Great Recession. The state is eligible for an additional $250 million in taxpayer funds to bulldoze houses and fight housing blight.
What is a mortgage foreclosure?
A foreclosure occurs when a homeowner fails to make full principal and interest payments on a mortgage. A borrower who misses a payment and does not pay it within one month is in “default.” After the lender notifies the borrower that the payment must be made in full, and the mortgage remains delinquent after 3 to 6 months, the lender can initiate a foreclosure proceeding. At that point, the lender can evict the homeowner, seize the property and sell it at a public auction.
The Housing Blight in Ohio
The additional funds from the Hardest Hit Fund will enable Ohio and other states to clean up the mess from the housing market collapse by demolishing abandoned homes in depressed towns across the state, including 158 vacant apartment buildings in East Cleveland. Ohio previously received $570 million for not only blight removal, but also foreclosure prevention programs.
The money is used by the state, cities and nonprofit groups in Ohio to counsel or provide financial relief to homeowners who are facing foreclosure, and to tear down abandoned homes. The vacant property is then turned into green space or sold for new development. As homeowners defaulted on their mortgages and walked away from their homes, banks and other lenders were unable to sell many properties in foreclosure auctions. Lawmakers believe the additional funding will help Ohioans recover from the lingering devastation of the financial crisis.
The White House has employed a number of tools to help Americans who were swept up in the recession and the housing downturn and views the Hardest Hit Fund as a program that will strengthen the housing recovery. Whether there has been a recovery in the housing market so far is arguable, but abandoned and blighted homes certainly have a ripple effect on the values of other homes in the neighborhood.
Can I save my home by filing for bankruptcy?
A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition may enable you to set up a plan to pay the mortgage payments that are in arrears. The homeowner and lender can agree to a time period for the repayments to be made, but the delinquent payments must be made simultaneously with the current payments. Provided that all of the required payments are made according to the repayment plan, you can avoid foreclosure. If you are having trouble making your mortgage payments, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to explore your options.