The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced that it plans to reach out to American homeowners about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) through a town hall-style meeting in Chicago next week.
Next month, on July 8 at Chicago’s Woodson Regional Library in the Washington Heights neighborhood, FHFA Director Mel Watt will meet with community leaders and housing experts to encourage Chicago area residents who meet eligibility criteria to participate in the program.
The meeting is part of a nationwide public awareness campaign launched by the FHFA last year to reach eligible borrowers. During the event, Sandra Thompson, the deputy director for housing mission and goals at the FHFA, will moderate a discussion with officials from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wells Fargo and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.
Attendees will receive a toolkit specific to the Chicago area detailing HARP’s components and how the program can help qualified borrowers. Future HARP events will be announced in coming weeks.
“We know that there are hundreds of thousands of borrowers who can still benefit from HARP and are essentially leaving money on the table by not taking advantage of the program,” Watt said. “By engaging directly with local community leaders, faith-based organizations, local elected officials and lenders, our goal is to leverage these trusted sources to reach as many ‘in-the-money’ borrowers as we can.”
In order to qualify for HARP, homeowners must have a mortgage originated on or before May 31, 2009, that is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The loan-to-value ratio must be higher than 80 percent, and borrowers must be current on mortgage payments with no late payments in the previous six months and no more than one late payment in the past year.