A new program – Hardest Hit – has provided Florida with $1bn to help those who are unemployed (or underemployed) keep their homes. Around 3,400 home-owners are being helped in this way. The program began nine months ago from Florida and since that time, around 23,320 have filled out applications. A staggering $77.3 m has been given to those applications that were approved (or set aside for them). Moving over to Palm Beach County, out of the 1,931 applications received, 348 were approved and $7.7m was paid out or reserved for this program.
To be eligible for the program, homeowners need to be Florida residents, using the property as their primary residence. As well, they need to be unemployed/underemployed with a total household income that does not reach 140 percent of the area median income. Finally, their financial hardship must be the result of something that the homeowner did not cause themselves.
There have however, been some critics of the program. For example, some have complained that too many people are not eligible. Indeed, close to 10,000 homeowners failed the eligibility test. One of the reasons was that they were more than 180 days late for mortgage payments. But that seems unfair as they probably did not pay because they were unable to and thus need the help from the Hardest Hit program.
So while Hardest Hit is a great program, it definitely has room for improvement.