SALEM, OR -- A pilot program designed to help struggling Oregon homeowners stay in their homes is expanding statewide. The Rebuilding American Homeownership Assistance Pilot Program (RAHAPP) has been available in the Portland metro area since July, and is designed to help those with high-interest loans who can’t refinance because they owe more than the home is worth. Officials with Oregon’s Housing and Community Services Department says more people will be eligible to participate in the program because of changes to the loan-to-value ratio and a lower required credit score.
Homeowners must be current on their payments and ineligible for federal assistance through HARP because their loan is not part of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
"Today, too many Oregonians continue to struggle to pay their mortgage, and the risk of foreclosure continues to have a significant negative impact on Oregon's communities." said Margaret Van Vliet, Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services. "We're excited to expand this program statewide to reach more homeowners who are struggling with underwater mortgages and are stuck in high interest rates with no options."
The expansion of the program also includes changes to the eligibility criteria. More homeowners will now be able to access the program because of changes to the loan-to-value ratio, and a lower required credit score. To apply, homeowners need to be current on their payments, and ineligible for the Federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) because their loans are not owned or insured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Recent reports show that a significant number of homeowners across Oregon still owe more than their home is worth. In some of Oregon's counties, as many as one in four homeowners are underwater.
Homeowners are encouraged to visit Oregon Homeowner Help's Website for information on the program, to take an eligibility quiz, and submit an online application. Homeowners are also able to submit applications online or in person through OHCS partner, Alpine Mortgage Planning, a division of Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation.
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