Tallahassee, FL - Foreclosure signs are the face of Florida's housing bust. With every rock-bottom deal they advertise, chances are there's a family in a tough spot, but the state has a solution that might help.
It's called Florida hardest hit.
It could by key to keeping laid-off homeowners in their homes.
Wiley Dawsey's been looking for a new gig for the better part of four months.
Dawsey says, "That kind of job that i was working in, there's only one company like that. So, to find something even close to it is very hard."
Most mortgage companies don't care. They want their monthly payment and if they don't get it. Foreclosure isn't far off.
Statewide, tens of thousands of homeowners have become tangled up in the weeds of perennial unemployment. They're behind on their mortgages, and they're in dire need of a temporary bailout.
Well, now they may be in luck.
If you've been laid off and you're fewer than 90 days behind on your mortgage. You could be eligible to have the Florida Housing Finance Corporation cover your monthly payment for up to a year-and-a-half.
FHFC's Cecka Rose Green calls it critical help that could keep 20,000 Floridians in their homes.
Green says, "The eighteen months gives them breathing room. It gives them the opportunity to know that their mortgage is going to be paid so that they can use all of their energy to try and find a job that will help them sustain their household."
For now, the federally-funded program is in a pilot phase in lee county. It's on track to go statewide early next year. For the growing ranks of Florida's unemployed homeowners, that expansion can't come soon enough.
Wiley says, "It's a very good idea - it'll help a lot of people out."
It could be a key tool in turning the housing crisis into a new tomorrow.
Note: State officials say only homeowners with original mortgages less than 300,000 dollar are eligible for the program. For homeowners who are behind on their payments, 'Hardest Hit' would bring their mortgages up to date, then make payments for up to 18 more months.
The program's website is due to go online October 25th.
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