'Hardest Hit' Provides Mortgage Help for Struggling Homeowners
Program offers assistance of up to $25,000 for residents hit by a loss or decrease in income.
A local organization is hoping to help keep area homeowners from slipping through the cracks.
Since July, the Community Service Council of Northern Will County has been participating in the state’s Hardest Hit Program, which offers mortgage help to homeowners whose paychecks have taken a hit of 20 percent or more.
CSC Executive Director Bob Kalnicky said the program is aimed at homeowners who have seen a loss in income due to no fault of their own, whether they’ve taken a pay cut or lost their job due to company downsizing or bankruptcy.
“People who are still working but maybe not making as much as they used to,” he said, adding homeowners who are collecting unemployment benefits can also qualify.
Offered through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), the Hardest Hit Fund is a federally funded program that will help with any payments that are past due and anything above the first 31 percent of the household gross income.
But the assistance is not a giveaway, Kalnicky said.
"It's really a stopgap to help people get back on their feet," he said.
"What happens is a lien is placed on the property,” Kalnicky added. The lien is forgiven in increments of 20 percent each year after the fifth year.
“If you stay in the house for 10 years, it’s 100 percent forgiven,” Kalnicky said. “If you sell the house, you have to pay it back.”
The program launched in July. Since then, the CSC has fielded about 500 applications.
“So it has been substantial,” Kalnicky said.
To apply, eligible Will County residents can access the link on the CSC’s website and fill out the five-page application form.
“You can also make an appointment to come in and we can kind of walk you through it,” Kalnicky said. “But it’s pretty simple, pretty straightforward.”
The CSC serves Romeoville, Bolingborok, Lockport, Plainfield, Lemont and Naperville.
For more information, call 815-886-5000 or click here.