The Illinois Hardest Hit Program, to be administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), was announced on September 15 by Governor Pat Quinn. The program utilizes $345 million in federal funds to support working families having trouble making mortgage payments due to unemployment or under-employment.

Below is information from the IHDA news release about the program, which has an official website (the only website for applications).

The program allows eligible participants to receive up to $25,000 over 18 months as a 10-year loan to keep mortgages current and make ongoing payments, including fees and penalties. The loan is forgiven over the last five years of the 10-year term and carries zero interest. Funds for the program are supplied by the U. S. Department of the Treasury. Illinois is among 18 states and Washington, D.C., that received funding for the program earlier this year.

“The best way to stabilize our neighborhoods is to prevent foreclosures before they happen,” said Mary Kenney, IHDA executive director. “This program will make a difference in people’s lives and in our communities.”

Free applications for the program are available exclusively through IHDA’s Illinois Hardest Hit website at Applicants will be matched with a local review agency that will answer questions, pre-screen applicants for eligibility and assist homeowners in preparing the application and assembling the required supporting documentation.

Eligibility criteria for the program include:

  • Property must be located in Illinois
  • Household must have a documented income reduction of at least 25 percent due to unemployment or under-employment through no fault of their own
  • Household income must be at or below 120 percent of the area median income
  • Principal loan balance of a mortgage must not be more than $500,000
  • Household liquid assets cannot exceed 3 months of mortgage payments
  • Property, which can be a 1-4 unit building, must be the primary and only residence of all borrowers/owners
  • Homeowners must carry a fixed or adjustable rate loan; negative amortization or interest-only loans are not eligible
  • The delinquency and forward payments must fall within available assistance and program guidelines
  • Applicants must not have been convicted of a mortgage-related felony in the last 10 years

The Illinois Hardest Hit program is funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury and does not have a fee for applying. Applicants should be aware of the prevalence for mortgage assistance fraud; no mortgage assistance program requires a fee.