Written by David Shivers
Albany, Ga – In the wake of the national economic crisis that started in 2008, many people have found themselves suddenly unemployed or underemployed, unable to meet existing home mortgage payments, or to be approved for a mortgage due to more stringent credit requirements.Beth Spears of Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on April 8 about three programs administered through the DCA to help people facing the mortgage default issue. She noted that Georgia is among the highest states in the nation in unemployment and home foreclosures.
Georgia Dream is a program that makes it possible to purchase a first home by providing eligible applicants with affordable first-mortgage financing and down-payment assistance. While the program generally applies in all 159 Georgia counties to first-time buyers or those who have not owned a home in the past three years, most of Southwest Georgia is in a “targeted census tract” in which the first-time buyer rule doesn’t apply. The only regional exceptions to the “targeted” designation are Lee and Seminole counties. Prospective applicants should contact a Georgia Dream Participating Lender for pre-qualification to begin the mortgage loan process. A list of lenders is available at www.GAdream.com or by calling 1-800-359-HOME (4663).
Home Safe Georgia provides temporary mortgage payment assistance to qualified applicants for the unemployed or underemployed for up to 18 months. There is no cost to apply and no closing costs. For information call 1-877-519-4443, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia Housing Search, sponsored by DCA and United Way, helps people facing re-location to find “the right rental, right now, right where you want to live,” according to printed information presented by Spears. It can be accessed online at GeorgiaHousingSearch.org and is free to search or to list, with thousands of listings available as well as special needs resources. For information call toll-free 1-877-428-8844.
The DCA acts as a conduit for federal funds targeted for the programs. Spears said after the meeting that the federal sequestration cuts are not affecting the department yet, but they are waiting to see what might play out in the future.