With military draw downs underway and more planned, North Carolina is fortunate to have an effective resource that helps those who have served their country preserve their own homes while they make the often challenging transition back to civilian life.
The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency offers veterans special mortgage payment help through its N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund while they look for work or train for a civilian career.
Making the foreclosure assistance available for veterans is particularly important in North Carolina, which is home to 10 percent of all active-duty military personnel in the U.S. (115,000, the most per-capita of any state) and more than 772,000 veterans.
“The transition from military to civilian life can be a challenge,” said A. Robert Kucab, executive director of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. “It’s especially important that veterans be able to participate fully in these foreclosure prevention benefits. Our agency is working closely with the VA and veterans groups across the state to make sure military families know that help is available for those who need it.”
The Fund makes mortgage payments of up to $36,000 for up to 36 months while the homeowner looks for work or completes a training program. The assistance is offered as a zero-interest deferred loan, with no payments due as long as the homeowner lives in the home. If the owner continues to live in the home for 10 years after assistance ends, the loan is forgiven. Homeowners who have returned to work but at reduced hours or a lower wage than what they were making previously may also be eligible for assistance.
Created in 2010 to help North Carolina homeowners recover from job loss and other temporary hardships, the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund has already helped 19,000 homeowners. Funds are available to assist an additional 2,000.
Veterans who study on the GI Bill or participate in a VA-approved vocational training program are eligible for a maximum 36 months of assistance, as long as their mortgage payments exceed 25 percent of their household income.
To qualify for assistance through the Fund, a veteran must have separated from service on or after Jan. 1, 2008, provide a DD-214, have a VA-issued Certificate of Eligibility for the GI Bill and provide proof of enrollment in school or a vocational retraining program. Homeowners do not have to be delinquent on mortgage payments to qualify.
The effort is funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury through its Hardest Hit Fund, which was created during the recession to assist North Carolina, 17 other states and the District of Columbia that were suffering from high unemployment, which continues to exceed the national average in many North Carolina counties
Veterans and civilians can apply for assistance from the Fund through more than 40 HUD-approved counseling agencies statewide, or online at www.NCForeclosurePrevention.gov. Information is available on the website or by calling 1-888-623-8631.
The N.C. Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting public agency that has financed nearly 231,000 affordable homes and apartments statewide since its creation in 1973.