An informational and open-to-the-public meeting on the foreclosure-prevention program Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island (HHFRI) will be held on Monday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at Buttonwoods Community Center, 3027 West Shore Road, Warwick.
Rhode Island Housing is urging homeowners to attend the meeting as the latest changes to HHFRI have made it easier for those Rhode Islanders having difficulty making mortgage payments to get assistance.
Among the new criteria, homeowners who are unemployed, and believe they may qualify, can now contact the HHFRI Center, at 401-277-1500, directly to get an appointment to begin the HHFRI application process. Under the original program, all applicants needed to go through a HUD approved and HHFRI certified counselor.
Homeowners with hardships other than unemployment will continue to seek out assistance from a HUD approved and HHFRI certified counseling agency such as the Rhode Island Housing Help Center, 401-457-1130.
Other changes to the program include homeowners who own more than one property can qualify for this assistance. (The requirement that homeowners could not own other property has been eliminated.) The amount families can have in savings and still qualify for assistance has been increased to $15,000. (You can have any amount in a retirement account such as a 401k or an IRA.)
“With these adjustments, HHFRI will be able to bring relief to more Rhode Islanders and keep them in their homes," said Richard Godfrey, executive director of Rhode Island Housing. “The purpose of this program is to prevent foreclosures and stabilize the housing market by helping homeowners make mortgage payments.”
Struggling homeowners may qualify for this program if they have a documented financial hardship such as a sudden loss of a job, underemployment, unforeseen medical expenses, and disability of a family’s key wage-earner or received FEMA or other natural disaster assistance and still have extensive property damage. In addition, deployed members of the U.S. Armed Forces or those discharged within the last 12 months who have experienced a drop in income are eligible. (This applies to all personnel in regular and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.)
The HHFRI free meeting will be in English with Spanish translation available. For more information on HHFRI and the list of all community meetings, visit www.HHFRI.org; email info@HHFRI.org; or call 401-277-1500.