According to the U.S. Department of Labor there were 6,000 fewer initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending March 27, 2010 than there were in the previous week. However, Missouri saw an increase in jobless claims of +792. While the metropolitan Kansas City area unemployment rate has been running consistently less than the national average, it will be a few weeks before we know how many jobs were lost in our area in the month of March.
Homeowners who find themselves unemployed and unable to make their house payment may find help from the Home Affordable Modification Program enhancements announced on March 26, 2010. The government website states: “Unemployed borrowers meeting eligibility criteria will have an opportunity to have their mortgage payments temporarily reduced to an affordable level for a minimum of 3 months, and up to six months for some borrowers, while they look for a new job. If homeowners don’t find a job before the temporary assistance period is over or if they find a job with a reduced income, they will be evaluated for a permanent HAMP modification or may be eligible for HAMP’s alternatives to foreclosure program.”
HAMP is just one of two parts in The Homeowner Affordability Stability Plan announced by President Obama in February of 2009. The Homeowner Affordability Stability Plan has two sides, loan modification (HAMP) or refinance (HARP) option. HAMP and HARP were designed to help families stay in their homes.
On April 5th, 2010 an enhancement to the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA) will be launched. HAFA provides other options homeowners and lenders may pursue to avoid costly foreclosures. For homeowners who have been unable to fit into the other programs, and unable to sell their home, HAFA is the best most affordable option for a short sale.
However, as the rate of unemployment continues to decline, homeowners may find ways to help themselves without government intervention.