Written by Charleston Bankruptcy Lawyer, Russell A. DeMott
Many South Carolina homeowners need help avoiding foreclosure. Fortunately, there’s a new program called the “South Carolina Homeownership and Employment Lending Program.” That’s a mouthful, so just remember this web address: scmortgagehelp.com. The program works through local agencies, and here in Charleston, that’s Family Services of Charleston, a well-respected local non-profit to whom I’ve referred clients to on several occasions.
I’m excited about this new development
Not everyone can–or should–try to save their home. But what’s frustrated me so much are the cases where the homeowner is only a few months behind, has modest payments, and can now make the ongoing mortgage payments even without a reduction in the payment amount or the interest rate. This program can do just that–approve grants for homeowners so that they can catch up on back payments–as lawyers say, “cure the arrearage.”
HAMP (“Home Affordable Modification Program”) and HAFA (“Home Foreclosures Alternatives”) have not worked well overall. (Although this year there are signs of improvement.)
A new gap filler was needed
This new program should fill a gap for those who can’t get the needed relief under HAMP or HAFA–especially those with modest mortgage payments but who’ve fallen behind and just need some help catching up to avoid foreclosure. Under the program, the Treasury Department has set aside 300 million for assistance, and from what I heard the other night at a foreclosure crisis meeting here in Charleston, the program looks promising and has already helped many people. (See “Foreclosure Issues Now on SC Legislature’s Radar” for more on the meeting and legislation to address exorbitant foreclosure attorney’s fees, as well as to make mediation mandatory and to prohibit bidding intimidation at foreclosure sales.)
SC Mortgage Help is good news for homeowners who need help avoiding foreclosure. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can also be an option, but filing a bankruptcy for some of my clients is overkill. (See “Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Stops Foreclosure”). This program may just be the perfect solution for many homeowners. Let’s hope so.
For more information about South Carolina foreclosure law and issues, visit our foreclosure defense website, scforeclosureblog.com. And for frequently asked questions, check out the foreclosure FAQ page of our firm website.