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Frequently Asked Questions: HomeSafe Georgia's Mortgage Assistance Program

General information

Eligibility

Application process

Mortgage assistance

Approval

Personal finance 

 

General information

 

What is HomeSafe Georgia?

HomeSafe Georgia is a government mortgage assistance program funded by the federal government and administered by the state of Georgia.

 

What type of government mortgage assistance is available through HomeSafe Georgia?

HomeSafe Georgia offers three mortgage assistance programs, in the form of a no-interest forgivable loan:


Mortgage Payment Assistance is available for eligible homeowners who became unemployed or underemployed in the last 36 months through no fault of their own. Homeowners can receive up to 24 months of monthly assistance plus lender fees while they search for employment or complete training. For those who became delinquent, up to 12 of the 24 months can be used to bring the loan current. Quarterly recertification of eligibility is required for this government mortgage assistance program. Successful applicants may have to make partial payment contributions toward their mortgage.

Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance is available for eligible homeowners who became delinquent on their mortgage due to unemployment, military, medical or death hardships that occurred within the last 36 months. Up to 12 months of mortgage assistance plus lender fees are available as a onetime payment to the lender to help bring the mortgage current. The delinquency must be tied to the hardship and the homeowner must have sufficient income to make their payments after the assistance is administered.

Mortgage Payment Reduction is available for eligible homeowners who had a permanent reduction of income within the last 36 months due to disability, death of spouse/homeowner, or unemployment (drawing Social Security benefits after unemployment benefits were exhausted). Up to $45,000 will be provided directly to the lender to enable an affordable payment. Contact your lender to determine if your loan can qualify before applying.

 

Do you provide loan modifications?

We provide mortgage assistance under the Mortgage Payment Reduction program detailed above, and our other programs offer financial assistance to help bring delinquent mortgages current.

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Eligibility

Who is eligible for assistance?

The applicant in need of mortgage assistance must live in Georgia, be the homeowner (the person listed on the security deed) or the spouse of the homeowner, and meet a set of eligibility requirements unique to a HomeSafe Georgia mortgage program. Additionally, the spouse (if applicable) and all homeowners and borrowers legally bound to the property must cooperate in the application process.

 

Do all mortgage loans qualify for assistance?

No. The type of loan, the total lien balance, the amount of default, the investor and lender participation and approval are determining factors. No assistance is provided for charged-off mortgages, open-ended second mortgage Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC), third mortgages or manufactured home installment loans not included in a security deed for the land.

 

 

What if I am not eligible for any HomeSafe Georgia mortgage assistance program, but need help?

Contact your lender’s Loss Mitigation department to discuss your options. For additional resources, click here .

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Application Process

How do I complete an application and where do I send my application package?

Click here  to find out if you meet the basic requirements to apply for any of our three mortgage assistance programs. Your answers to the quiz will indicate if you could be eligible for assistance and direct you to the applicable HomeSafe Georgia mortgage assistance program so you can review eligibility requirements and begin your application.

 

Once the online application is completed, you must download and print the documents, complete and sign where indicated, collect the supporting documentation on the checklist, and fax, mail or deliver the application package to HomeSafe Georgia.

 

You can fax your application package to us to 404-679-0605 or 1-888-946-6723 (toll free) or mail or deliver your application package to:

HomeSafe Georgia

Georgia Department of Community Affairs

60 Executive Park South, NE

Atlanta, GA 30329-2231

Remember, no supporting materials will be returned so please copy all original documents and make an extra copy of your entire application package for yourself.

 

Applicants requiring special assistance with the application or who do not have access to a computer should contact Customer Service or work directly with a HUD counselor. Please note: Most counselors will require you to complete their application before they review your situation. If it appears you may be eligible for HomeSafe Georgia mortgage assistance, the counselor should help you complete our online application and submit your application package to us. If you are not eligible, the counselor can review your situation for other options.

 

I’ve completed my application. What happens next?

An acknowledgement of receipt of the application package is sent via email usually within 10 days. Applicants requesting phone or mail-only contact will not receive an acknowledgement. Note that the online application itself is not reviewed or acknowledged; it is just one part of the process and an application package must be submitted to HomeSafe Georgia to be considered for assistance. To see the application process, click here .

 

How does HomeSafe Georgia determine the amount of its no-interest forgivable loans?

The amount of mortgage assistance is determined by both the applicant’s need and the maximum amount allowed under the program. The reserved amount (listed in the Note ) does not guarantee that all reserved funds will be used. While HomeSafe Georgia will attempt to bring the first mortgage loan current, there may be situations in which we are unable to do so. Second mortgages may receive less or no assistance.

HomeSafe Georgia is not responsible for delinquencies outside of the allowable amount under program eligibility; failure of the lender to identify all delinquencies or fees; or the lender’s refusal or return of government mortgage assistance payments. Your HomeSafe Georgia loan balance will be adjusted to reflect only the monetary amount used. The loan is forgivable at 20% of the principal balance per year after assistance ends.

Can I reapply?

Additional online applications aren’t allowed by the system; however, the original application is good for the life of the program. Contact customer service for more information.

 

If your application was deemed ineligible, review the reason. If you do not understand the cited ineligibility, contact the processor or counselor. If you disagree with the statement of ineligibility or denial, do not request the application be reopened; instead, dispute the finding within 30 days by providing the documentation to prove your case. HomeSafe Georgia’s dispute procedures ensure that your response is reviewed. However, if the ineligibility reason is correct, you must overcome the ineligibility or have a new qualifying hardship to reopen the application for the particular government mortgage assistance program you applied for.

 

Applications can be reopened in the event of new hardships if they qualify you for another HomeSafe Georgia mortgage assistance program. The request date will be used as a new application date. Eligibility requirements apply to the new date.

 

If your application is withdrawn either through your request or due to a failure to provide required documentation, you can request that it be reopened. However, all required documentation must be provided with the request. The reconsideration date will be used as a new application date. Eligibility requirements apply to the new date.

 

HomeSafe Georgia mortgage assistance is offered once per homeowner, household and address. If you, your spouse or an additional homeowner closed on a HomeSafe Georgia loan for the property you live in, you cannot receive additional assistance under the same or different program, regardless of the amount of mortgage assistance provided. 

 

How does applying for a HomeSafe Georgia loan affect my mortgage or foreclosure?

Your current mortgage payment arrangements are between you and your lender and you should contact your lender’s loss mitigation department if you are struggling or cannot make your payments. Applying to HomeSafe Georgia does not guarantee government mortgage assistance nor stop foreclosure; we do not contact the lender until eligibility is confirmed.

 

We will expedite the review for applicants who have received a foreclosure sale date and notify us (letter will have a date that reflects a first Tuesday of a month), but the lender must be willing to stop the foreclosure, and HomeSafe Georgia must have time to process and underwrite the application and meet the lender’s guidelines for notification. HomeSafe Georgia cannot provide any mortgage assistance on homes lost to foreclosure. Click here  for foreclosure resources.

 

 

How do I receive mortgage assistance from HomeSafe Georgia?

First, you must be approved. The counselor or processor will determine eligibility, which must be confirmed by an underwriter. A clear title and the lender’s acceptance are required. Approval may be conditional and all conditions must be cleared before closing. Our closing attorneys will contact you to schedule the closing and you must do so within 30 days of approval or risk objection of assistance by the lender. You must bring proper identification and you will be required to sign several documents, similar to when you purchased the home. A lien will be placed against your property and will remain until paid or forgiven (complete forgiveness is at five years and 30 days after assistance ends). Applicants under the Mortgage Payment Assistance program will set up ACH drafting authority at closing for partial mortgage payments. All program assistance transactions are made directly to the borrower’s lender – no funds are ever provided to the homeowner.  To view the application process, click here .

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Approval

If approved, do I have to accept the HomeSafe Georgia loan?

You may choose not to accept the government mortgage assistance by withdrawing for any reason. In some cases you must choose between what your lender has to offer and HomeSafe Georgia assistance. We request that you notify us as soon as you make the decision, but you must withdraw prior to closing to prevent loss of eligibility for any other HomeSafe Georgia mortgage assistance program.

 

Are any payments required?

No monthly payments are required on the HomeSafe Georgia loan; however, if you are receiving Mortgage Payment Assistance, you may be required to make partial payments toward your current mortgage loan during your participation in the program.

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Personal finance

 

How does the HomeSafe Georgia loan affect my credit score?

The homeowner must determine if the benefits of assistance outweigh any risks; HomeSafe Georgia cannot make any guarantees that your credit score will not be affected. HomeSafe Georgia has no reporting authority or control for your mortgage loan or how your lender will treat assistance payments from HomeSafe Georgia. Please contact your lender if you have any concerns.

 

Other factors to consider:

A credit report is pulled as part of the application process

Mortgage delinquency will occur or increase if the homeowner is unable to make the payments during processing

Servicing transfers can disrupt assistance

The homeowner is responsible for understanding assistance coverage and making payments after assistance ends

 

How does receiving government mortgage assistance through HomeSafe Georgia affect my taxes?

You will receive a 1098MA form for each year of your participation, indicating how much HomeSafe Georgia paid to your lender on your behalf and how much you contributed (partial payments). The IRS has provided safe harbor instructions on what can be used as a deductible. Consult your tax preparer or tax attorney for more information.

 

What happens if I need to move or refinance after receiving mortgage assistance?

The HomeSafe Georgia loan is forgiven at 20% of the principal balance per year, starting one year and 30 days after the last assistance payment was made. If you sell your home or take equity out of the home prior to the full forgiveness period, the unforgiven portion of the balance will be due. HomeSafe Georgia will subordinate to no cash out refinance and consider a short sale under acceptable conditions.

 

What happens if I file for bankruptcy?

Applications submitted while the applicant is in an active bankruptcy will receive a Statement of Ineligibility. However, if the bankruptcy can be dismissed or discharged quickly and the participant meets all other requirements of the mortgage assistance program applied for, we can continue with the review and provide a conditional approval. Filing bankruptcy after closing on a HomeSafe Georgia loan can cause loss of assistance per lender requirements. Please discuss this with your lender.  

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