For many across the Panhandle, trying to meet monthly mortgage payments remains a challenge. But, there is assistance for those who qualify through a special fund News 13 Problem Solver told you about last year. Details in this follow up report.
Foreclosure starts nationwide increased on an annual basis after twenty seven consecutive months of year-over-year declines, that according to RealtyTrac a real estate information company. RealtyTrac also says Florida is among the states with the largest increase in scheduled foreclosures.
The Florida Hardest Hit Fund is administered for six counties in the Panhandle in the Community Development Office in Panama City.
Community Development Director Michael Johnson says that fund is now increased from six months to a full year. According to Johnson, "Basically, you can go to the web site and see what the qualifications are and move forward from there." Johnson says his office sees ten to fifteen people each week…talking or applying for the help for their mortgage payments. Johnson says, "I have never seen it this bad...this is real...and it is hurting a lot of people."
The program is geared toward mortgages held by banks or mortgage companies. Owner-financed properties are not eligible for the assistance.
With the loss of his job and the home income changing, the fund has made the difference for Stephen Kriviski and his wife of Panama City. He says, "It is like getting thrown a life preserver...with all these red flags flying. At a time when we really needed it because we don't want to loose our home…It is the one thing that me and my wife have." And for those feeling the pressure of mortgage payments…the time to act is now. Kriviski says, "This is a great program. I thank God for them everyday."
Keep in mind, if you are approved, your monthly payments will vary depending on your income status. But, again, that help is available for up to 12 months.
The Community Development Office is ready to help bay and the surrounding five counties in our area. Call 872-7230 for more information.