State Employment Picture Improves, But Help is Available for Homeowners Who Lost Jobs
By Scott Scredon, HomeSafe Georgia Marketing Manager
With spring finally upon us, there is plenty of good economic news for Georgians. One of the most important indicators is the drop in the state’s unemployment rate. Over the past year, Georgia has added approximately 157,400 new jobs and the jobless rate has declined to 6.3 percent. Another good indicator is the foreclosure rate, which has dropped to levels we haven’t seen since before The Great Recession in many parts of the state.
Despite good news about job growth and declining foreclosures, thousands of homeowners around the state are still struggling and want to know how to avoid foreclosure.
The Department of Labor reports that in the first two months of 2015, more than 86,000 Georgians filed an initial claim for unemployment insurance. It is likely that many of those who lost a job also own a home and may need assistance to help make their mortgage payments.
Any homeowner who has lost a job within the past three years through no fault of their own, or who has a new job and earns significantly less now than in a previous job, may qualify for assistance from a handful of federal and state government programs, including HomeSafe Georgia. You can start your search for help by visiting homesafegeorgia.com.
HomeSafe Georgia is a free state government program that will make your mortgage payments while you search for a new job. And because it’s government backed, there are no application fees and no closing costs.
If you qualify, the program will help make your mortgage payments for up to 24 months.
Through February 2015, approximately 6,400 homeowners across the state have qualified for HomeSafe Georgia. The program has paid out roughly $138 million to mortgage companies on behalf of these homeowners, enabling them to avoid foreclosure.
In addition to helping people who have lost a job, HomeSafe Georgia also helps homeowners who are able to make their mortgage payments, but missed one or more payments and fell behind within the past three years for a variety of reasons. These reasons include a medical hardship, death in the family or the transition from military service to civilian life. These homeowners may qualify for a one-time lump sum to cover up to 12 months of payments.
Finally, the program helps homeowners with a permanent drop in income reduce their mortgage principal by up to $45,000, making their mortgage affordable and allowing them to stay in their homes. The homeowner must meet certain criteria and their lender must participate in the HomeSafe Georgia program.
If you need help paying your mortgage, take our pre-qualification quiz (insert link here) to see if you qualify. If you do, you may start your online application immediately by clicking here.