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Indiana reopens embattled foreclosure prevention program following criticism from federal auditors

Hardest Hit Fund offering up to $30K to homeowners
Posted at 10:19 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 10:24:24-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- An embattled foreclosure prevention program is once again taking applications in Indiana, more than one year after the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) stopped accepting homeowners’ requests for mortgage assistance.

Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund reopened its application process on July 1, allowing Indiana homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage to apply for a one-time assistance of up to $30,000.

As Call 6 Investigates reported, in June 2017, Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund stopped accepting applications due to lack of funding, and to make sure the program had sufficient money to help homeowners already enrolled.

However, IHCDA now says it has the money to continue the program.

“Due to recycled and reallocated funds, there are now sufficient funds available to reopen the application portal,” according to the IHCDA. “The portal will remain open until the funds available have been distributed.”

IHCDA's announcement comes after federal auditors criticized Indiana’s spending of the federal money meant to help homeowners avoid foreclosures.

The federal Office of Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) released a report that said Indiana “squandered” federal funds on $45,100 on employee bonuses and $1,558 on water for employees.

The Indiana agency spent $34.4 million on its own salaries and expenses, according to the federal audit.

The Hardest Hit Fund re-launched this month will cover a one-time assistance for eligible Indiana homeowners up to $30,000.

Eligible homeowners must have fallen behind on their mortgage due to an involuntary job loss or reduction in employment income, and homeowners must be able to make current mortgage payments but unable to pay the past-due balance.

“The HHF program has allowed us to help more than 10,000 Hoosier families across all 92 counties remain in their homes,” said Jacob Sipe, Executive Director at IHCDA. "We are pleased to be in a position to reopen the application portal and provide targeted and immediate assistance to working Hoosiers who have fallen behind on their mortgage."

More than 11,700 Indiana homeowners lost their home to foreclosure during the past year, and 35,128 homeowners are delinquent on their mortgage, read the federal audit.

Click here to apply for Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund.

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