Is the Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) too good to be true? I got asked this question right after meeting with a couple who could no longer afford their dream home and withstand the long daily commute of more than 50 miles to and from work. The husband had served his country for 11 long years, his wife was now pregnant with their first baby and he had just reported to his new duty station a few months ago. The Homeowner Assistance Program seemed too good to be true because it offered the active duty member and his family a chance to relieve a financial burden and start a new.
Here was a family like most Americans who thought they had brought their dream house in 2005. Both their home and investment was now only worth half of what they paid. To see the value reach anything near the purchase price would probably take at least 5-10 years according to experts. So, they felt stuck with the property and struggled with the commute when the husband got new orders more than 50 miles away. Everyday, the husband would get up and complain about the commute and the time not spent with his family.
Then, the service member heard about the Homeowner Assistance Program and it seemed too good to be true. Still, he felt too proud and didn't want to seem like a failure, so he didn't apply for it. He said, "Ma'am.. for years I've worked hard and paid for everything I own. I believe in paying my debt. I don't want to seem like a failure." However, this proud military man needed help and the HAP, though, it seemed too good to be true was going to be his life line. He agreed to list his home and get the sale approved through the Homeowner Assistance Program.
Unlike many Americans who are upside down on their homes, the HAP allows the qualified military member the opportunity to sell their home like a traditional sale instead of a short sale. The program provides monetary help for military family members and federal civilian workers who suffer a financial loss on their home due to base realignment and PCS moves. The Homeowner Assistance program is designed to help our service members focus on doing their job and and not have to worry about the financial stress due to their work. However, the Homeowner Assistance Program which seems too good to be true, has been cut short by two years due to the possibility of a lack of funds.
Lorraine Santirosa works with military families who need to buy or sell their homes as they relocate to and from the San Diego area.