Protecting Homeowners, Preventing Foreclosure

home foreclosure illustrationLosing a home to foreclosure, or managing the threat of foreclosure can be one of the most difficult challenges anyone can face.

The Senate Democrats have worked to create programs and enact laws that help protect homeowners and prevent predatory lending practices.

Whether you’re having trouble paying your mortgage, or you’re already coping with foreclosure action, there are resources available that could help to save your home.

This page updated February 3, 2014.

In Danger of Foreclosure?

The First Step in Connecticut

If you’re having trouble paying your mortgage, or are facing delinquency or foreclosure, contact one of Connecticut’s Housing Counseling Agencies as a first step. Each agency is prepared to give advice, screen your eligibility for potential assistance programs and offer other resources to help you keep your home. The agencies are available to assist borrowers with fixed-rate as well as adjustable-rate mortgages.

Central Connecticut

Northwestern Connecticut

Southern Connecticut

Southeastern Connecticut

Southwestern Connecticut

Free Foreclosure Prevention Clinics

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center and local volunteer attorneys have partnered to offer free foreclosure prevention clinics to any homeowner facing foreclosure.

Free Advice from the Federal Government

The Homeownership Preservation Foundation’s Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline provides free foreclosure-prevention advice from HUD-approved counselors. Call at 1-888-995-HOPE to speak to a counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. HUD also offers a helpful online guide to avoiding home foreclosure.

The Federal Home Affordable Refinance Program

If you’re not currently behind on your mortgage, but you’re worried about the long-term affordability of your Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-securitized mortgage, the federal Home Affordable Refinance program might be able to help.

Created by the Obama Administration as part of the Making Home Affordable plan, the refinancing program is available through lenders and mortgage servicers for homeowners who have not been more than 30 days late on their mortgage payment within the last 12 months, whose first mortgage is about the same or slightly less than the current value of the home and who has sufficient income to support a refinanced mortgage payment.

The federal government also provides helpful resources for mortgage holders — including frequently asked questions, modification calculators, counselor contact information and much more — on its Making Home Affordable Web site.

Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program

Administered by The Workplace, Inc. and the state’s regional workforce development boards, the Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program offers free job training, employment services, credit counseling and other services to homeowners who are at least 60 days past-due on their mortgage and have been referred by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) or can demonstrate an imminent need for services and have a household income less than $120,000.

Call 1-866-683-1682 or E-mail for more information.

Addressing the Mortgage Crisis

The General Assembly’s Banks Committee

The Banks Committee considers legislation on all matters related to the state Department of Banking, banks and credit unions and all matters pertaining to secured and unsecured lending.

Senator Gary Winfield, Senate Chair; 860-240-0589

Senator Joseph Crisco, Senate Vice Chair; 860-240-0189

Already in Foreclosure?

Free Advice from the Department of Banking

Connecticut’s Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance Hotline is available for free at 1-877-472-8313, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The hotline provides materials, contact information and advice for Connecticut homeowners in any stage of foreclosure. The state Department of Banking also offers an online resource guide for homeowners facing foreclosure.

Connecticut’s Foreclosure Assistance Programs

The General Assembly passed legislation in 2009 that expanded eligibility to two financial assistance programs designed to help qualified homeowners avoid foreclosure. These programs are administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA). Call the CHFA Call Center toll-free at 1-877-571-CHFA (2432) for more information.

The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP) provides financial assistance for up to five years to Connecticut homeowners facing a temporary financial hardship who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments and have received a notice of foreclosure action from their lender.

State Foreclosure Mediation Program

Connecticut has a mandatory foreclosure mediation program — operated by the state Judicial Branch — for homeowners facing foreclosure in the state.

All lenders are required by law to provide homeowners facing foreclosure with a Notice to Homeowner, a Foreclosure Mediation Certificate and an Appearance form when a foreclosure action is filed. For more information, visit the Judicial Branch’s Foreclosure Mediation Program Web site.

Help from the Federal Government

If you can no longer afford to make your monthly mortgage payments, you may qualify for a loan modification to make your payment more affordable. The federal Home Affordable Modification program is expected to help three to four million American homeowners who are struggling to keep their loans current or who are already behind on their mortgage payments avoid foreclosure.

The program is available whether or not you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned or securitized mortgage.

Part of the Making Home Affordable plan created by the Obama Administration, the modification program is available to homeowners who have an unpaid principal balance that is equal to or less than $729,750 for one-unit properties; have a loan that was originated on or before January 1, 2009; have a mortgage payment that is more than 31 percent of their gross monthly income; and have a mortgage payment that is unaffordable, perhaps because of a significant change in income or expenses.

The federal government also provides helpful resources for mortgage holders — including frequently asked questions, modification calculators, counselor contact information and much more — on its Making Home Affordable Web site.

Other Resources

The Department of Housing (DOH) works in concert with municipal leaders, public agencies, community groups, local housing authorities and other housing developers in the planning and development of affordable homeownership and rental housing units, the preservation of existing multi-family housing developments, community revitalization and financial and other support for our most vulnerable residents through their funding and technical support programs.

The DOH provides a list of links for information on the most commonly requested topics related to housing in the state.