The Finance of America Foundation and HLP have announced they will create a new national platform to connect homeowners facing foreclosure or other financial problems with the assistance they need to keep their homes. This national utility will be free for consumers, government agencies, nonprofit counselors, and the mortgage industry.
The platform will be a central source of information about aid programs nationwide, including state and federal government programs and private charitable resources. In addition, individuals will be able to apply for many of these programs via HLP’s secure, online channel. To help guide homeowners, the platform will also provide free, on-demand chat services with nonprofit HUD-approved housing counselors.
The new platform will be funded by a grant from the Finance of America Foundation and developed by HLP, with guidance from the foundation’s advisory board of executives and former government officials. It is scheduled to launch in Q3 2018.
“Hundreds of new programs were created during the financial crisis, but many homeowners and mortgage company representatives had no idea how or where to find this information,” said Sara Sefcovic, President of the Finance of America Foundation. “The recent natural disasters highlight the fact that access to aid still remains fragmented and difficult to obtain. By partnering with HLP to build a comprehensive database and a secure way to apply for help, we can make an enormous difference by providing immediate assistance to homeowners struggling to find a way to keep their homes.”
HLP, a national nonprofit organization, currently operates a technology platform where the largest commercial banks, mortgage servicing companies, government agencies, and nonprofit counselors exchange data and documents with homeowners seeking loan modifications and other assistance. Working with IndiSoft, its technology partner, HLP will build the center’s website and resource database while working with all of these organizations to gather and regularly update information for the site. It will also work with mortgage companies, government agencies. and other housing organizations to place links to the platform on their websites.
“This collaborative effort will offer universal access and better transparency to all homeowner assistance programs. We believe this will significantly increase the utilization of these programs and dramatically improve how we sustain homeownership nationally,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s CEO.
Barney Frank, former U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, is advising the Finance of America Foundation in this effort and believes the new platform can play a significant role in helping distressed homeowners.
“While we have made significant progress in many ways in the 10 years since the financial crisis, we have not yet implemented a solution that allows government, the lending industry, and counselors to work together effectively on behalf of individuals facing financial distress,” said Frank. “This platform will be a welcome source of assistance for individuals as well as an opportunity for mortgage companies provide a better customer experience and demonstrate their commitment to sustainable homeownership. It will also provide more visibility for the wide array of government programs available throughout the 50 states and to the thousands of nonprofit housing counselors who work tirelessly to help people in need.”