The federally-funded Hardest Hit Fund is gaining some much-needed momentum after criticism that the program’s designated $7.6 billion was slow to get to struggling homeowners facing possible foreclosure.
The HHF’s sluggishness drew a more aggressive approach from U.S. Treasury officials administering the plan through state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs), which are responsible for helping families, with the assistance of lenders and investors.
Treasury officials said this week that they are working with participating states to “identify barriers to program success and make appropriate changes quickly so programs continue to grow.”
The approach seems to be working. In the 12 months ending June 30, 2013, the number of homeowners assisted more than doubled from 58,519 to 126,858, and the amount of funds disbursed grew by more than 200 percent, from $511 million to $1.7 billion.
“Housing markets and local economies are recovering, but many are fragile and homeowners still need help,” said Erin Quinn, Hardest Hit Fund Program Director, in a statement Thursday accompanying the latest quarterly update. “Treasury will continue to support states as they evaluate and adapt their HHF programs to better address evolving homeowner and community needs.”
As of June 30, 2013, there were 63 active programs across the 19 HFAs. Approximately 67 percent of total program funds have been targeted to help unemployed borrowers, primarily through reinstatement and programs that help homeowners pay their mortgage while looking for work.
The HHF provided $7.6 billion to 18 states and the District of Columbia three years ago.
Read the Treasury’s Quarterly Performance Summary for the HHF.