Save the Dream Ohio & Other Foreclosure Assistance in Ohio

If you are faced with foreclosure in Ohio, the Save the Dream Ohio program, which gets funds from the federal Hardest Hit Program, may help you keep your home. Support can range from mortgage payment assistance to reimbursement for moving expenses. Ohio has a few other programs that can help as well, including county foreclosure prevention programs and foreclosure prevention mediation.  Read on to learn more.

Save the Dream Ohio

Ohio works in conjunction with the federal Hardest Hit Fund to assist homeowners who are faced with foreclosure. This program offers a wide range of mortgage payment assistance and other options to prevent or stop foreclosure. Your household may qualify for up to $35,000 in mortgage assistance. Save the Dream Ohio is run by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), which serves as a way station and referral agent for homeowners experiencing financial hardship.

Types of Assistance

Save The Dream Ohio offers six program options. You may be eligible for more than one,  but the total assistance for one household cannot exceed $35,000.

Rescue Payment Assistance (RPA)

With RPA, you can receive up to $25,000 in a lump sum to use toward reinstating your first mortgage loan. These funds can be used to bring your mortgage account current by paying past due interest and principal payments, and can even be used toward escrow shortages.

Mortgage Payment Assistance (MPA)

The MPA program can help you pay your mortgage when you are unemployed or underemployed. You may be eligible to receive up to:

  • $22,000, or
  • 18 months of full mortgage payments (principal, interest, and escrow).

To qualify, your monthly mortgage payment must exceed 20% of your gross monthly income if you are unemployed, or 31% of your income if you are underemployed.

Modification with Contribution Assistance (MCA)

If you need a HAMP or other loan modification, MCA can assist you by providing up to $25,000 in a lump sum to reduce the principal balance of the mortgage loan. This makes the mortgage loan more affordable by reducing the monthly payments. You can also use MCA funds to pay delinquent payments, taxes and other charges necessary to modify the loan.

Lien Elimination Assistance (LEA)

The LEA program can provide up to $25,000 to pay off existing first or second liens. This is especially helpful for homeowners who are close to paying off their loans but have run into financial difficulty but cannot refinance.

Homeownership Retention Assistance (HRA)

HRA is a helpful backup option that covers other financial problems related to your home. HRA can provide up to $25,000 to be used toward:

  • delinquent second mortgages
  • overdue condominium or HOA fees, and
  • delinquent property taxes.

Transition Assistance

If you have decided to surrender your home through an approved short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, this program can provide you with up to $7,500 in relocation assistance, such moving expenses or rent deposits. These funds can also be used to cover escrow shortages and second lien payoffs necessary to close a short sale and wipe out the remaining debt.

Are You Eligible for Ohio’s Save the Dream?

To qualify for assistance under Save the Dream, you must first meet the following general requirements:

  • have a qualifying financial hardship
  • meet a certain mortgage debt-to-household income ratio
  • have a mortgage balance that does not exceed the highest FHA maximum loan amount
  • own and occupy a home with no more than four family units, and
  • have an approved mortgage loan servicer that participates and is enrolled in the program.

There are additional requirements for each specific program. Your eligibility and the amount of assistance that you actually receive (called an Action Plan) will depend on your particular financial circumstances, as reflected in the paperwork that you submit for consideration.

How the Program Works

You do not receive money directly. Rather, the funds are paid to your mortgage lender or other entity on your behalf. Financial assistance is in the form of a no-interest, $35,000 second mortgage, which is forgiven after five years.

How to Get Assistance

You must apply through a HUD-approved housing counselor. You can go to the Save the Dream website at www.savethedream.ohio.gov or call the hotline at 888- 404-4674 for a referral to a local, approved housing counselor. Most county foreclosure courts maintain a list of approved housing counselors who can assist you with the application process.

You should not have to pay a fee for assistance by a housing counselor. It is free. Avoid private companies that try to sell you services to save your home.

Other Ohio Assistance

If you do not qualify for a program under Save the Dream Ohio, you may be eligible for other help in your area. Some counties have their own foreclosure prevention and relief programs. For example, Cuyahoga County runs its own program called Don't Borrow Trouble.

For more information, go to or to get help, check out OHFA's official website: www.ohiohome.org/

If you are already in foreclosure, many courts offer mediation programs that may offer other ways to help you save your home. For foreclosure mediation information, listed by county, go to:

www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/JCS/disputeResolution/foreclosure/ForeclosureCtyContact.pdf

If you have already lost your home to foreclosure, you may be entitled to compensation if you believe you were the victim of abusive or fraudulent mortgage practices. That is because Ohio has recently received funds from a federal settlement agreement with some of the country's largest mortgage servicers. For more information, visit the OAG Mortgage Foreclosure Counsel webpage: www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Foreclosure

For more information on HHF and other foreclosure assistance programs, read Nolo's article, Housing Finance Innovation (Hardest Hit) Fund.

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