At the beginning of this year, more than 15,000 reverse mortgages in Florida were in default. A new program is designed to help about 2,500 of these households avoid foreclosure.

The Elderly Mortgage Assistance Program (ELMORE) will use $25 million in federal funding to aid seniors who have suffered a hardship and are having difficulty making property tax, homeowners insurance, and homeowners or condo association fee payments. In Florida, in particular, the cost of homeowners insurance has gone up in the last five to 10 years due to frequent natural disasters.

ELMORE provides an upfront, forgivable two-year loan of up to $25,000, though the average expected payout for the program is $10,000. Applicants will also receive a free “benefits checkup” to see if they qualify for other assistance for food or medicine, for instance.

The program is offered by the Florida Housing Finance Corp. in cooperation with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and Fannie Mae.

Fannie Mae said it is working with its reverse mortgage servicers to notify eligible homeowners in Florida about the program and also directly contacting senior homeowners with loans owned by Fannie Mae.

Source: Fannie Mae

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