Clayton Ingram, director of marketing and communications for South Carolina State Housing, is spokesperson this week. He will discuss how the agency assists people buy homes, available foreclosure prevention funds, and how to make homeownership more affordable.
Foreclosure Prevention Funds are still available. Our state’s economy is on the upswing and unemployment and underemployment are at lower levels than they have been in recent years.
However, a 2016 report released by RealtyTrac, showed that one in every 1041 South Carolina homes has had a foreclosure filing. It is discouraging to think that a hardworking, responsible homeowner might have to use his life’s savings to keep his home from foreclosure.
The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) believes that catastrophic economic events beyond a homeowner’s control should never cause the homeowner to lose his home or his savings. SC HELP is there as a temporary bridge over hardships.
SC HELP launched in early 2011. As of Sept. 30, the program has assisted more than 11,459 homeowners in SC, helping them to keep their mortgages from slipping into default or foreclosure. SC HELP has distributed more than $184 million to qualified homeowners and provided a lifeline to our state’s homeowners and economy by helping responsible homeowners stay in their homes.
It is important to understand the far-reaching effects of widespread foreclosure. Families are stressed and displaced. Homes are left vacant, which can result in increased crime and decreased home values; property tax revenues used to support our schools and critical services are reduced.
To apply, homeowners must be faced with at least one of the following qualifying hardships:
• Reduction of income for self-employed
• Death of a spouse
• Catastrophic medical expenses
If you know of anyone, a neighbor, co-worker, employee, or even a family member who is facing one of these hardships and struggling to keep up with their mortgage, it is imperative that they make contact immediately.
Lenders begin the foreclosure process quickly and SC HELP can most benefit homeowners who seek assistance before the foreclosure process begins.
While SC HELP cannot help everyone, homeowners who do not qualify for funds through the program can find local resources, agencies, assistance and tools for their individual situations at SCHELP.gov.
For more information or to start an application, go to SCHELP.gov. Homeowners without internet access may call toll free at 1.855.435.7472. Don’t let a temporary hardship turn into a permanent loss.
Known for 44 years as the state’s premier lender for low, fixed rate mortgage loans and generous down payment assistance, the agency has made homeownership available for thousands of South Carolinians
To date, SC Housing.has made more than 41,000 first mortgages, for a total investment of well over $2.62 billion and more than l6,500 down payment assistance loans, accounting for more than $47 million.
Potential homebuyers should contact their lender or real estate agent to find out if they qualify for a loan under the SC Housing Homebuyer Program or go to www.schousing.com for more information. Fall may be the best time to buy a home because fewer people are home shopping and supply is high.
Applicants are encouraged to apply electronically through the application located at www.schelp.com. Applicants without access to the Internet may call 1-855-435-7472, a statewide toll free telephone for assistance. There is no fee required at any point during the SC HELP process.
SC State Housing is self-sustaining and receives no state appropriations. We are proud that we have been able to serve our State for three decades and we are committed to our mission. Our vision is that all South Carolinians have the opportunity to live in safe, decent, and affordable housing.
Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.