Like many older adults, "Jane," 73, wants to remain in her home and community as she ages. That’s why she took out a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM)—one of the most popular forms of reverse mortgages available to older homeowners.
Yet when a storm caused extensive damage to her Southeast Florida home, Jane was unable to maintain her insurance, and soon was facing a default amount of more than $5,000. When she received notice last November of a court hearing for the sale of her property scheduled in January, she knew she had to act quickly.
To the Rescue
Fortunately, Jane's mortgage company alerted her to a new program that is helping to save seniors in her situation from foreclosure. Florida Housing's Elderly Mortgage Assistance Program (ELMORE) assists HECM borrowers in Florida who, as a result of a hardship, have fallen behind on their property tax or homeowner’s insurance payments.
The mortgage company connected Jane with Jennifer Pascale, a counselor in a network of free HUD-approved specialists supported by a new partnership between Fannie Mae and the National Council on Aging (NCOA).
Six weeks later, Jane received over $12,000 in assistance from ELMORE—enough to cover her default amount, legal fees, and to pay ahead 12 months of her 2014 taxes and insurance. She also received help from Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit that rehabilitates homes for those in need, to make post-storm repairs on her home.
Spread the Word
ELMORE was created in cooperation with Fannie Mae, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help reverse mortgage borrowers save their homes. The program is funded via $25 million in federal monies allotted to Florida from the Treasury's Hardest-Hit Fund.
Florida homeowners with reverse mortgages who want to see if they qualify for the ELMORE program should first contact their reverse mortgage servicer. If the servicer is unable to assist, a homeowner should then contact the toll-free ELMORE Application and Information Line at 855-414-3328 to apply and/or receive more information on the program.