New Jersey is getting $69 million from the U.S. Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund to help financially strapped home owners avoid foreclosure. Last year, New Jersey had the highest foreclosure rate in the country. Data from RealtyTrac shows that trend continuing, with New Jersey leading the nation last month, with 1 of every 588 homes in foreclosure, compared with a national rate of 1 in 1,387.
The funds, announced on Wednesday by the state's two U.S. Senators, Democrats Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, is provided to housing-finance agencies to assist struggling homeowners and support local programs designed to stabilize housing markets and prevent foreclosures. Home owners who can't meet their payments may be able to get financial assistance if they are unemployed, money for principal reduction or funds to help pay off a second mortgage.
Created in 2010 as a response to the recession, the HHF is providing a total of $7.6 billion in aid to 18 states, including New Jersey, hardest hit by the downturn in the housing market. As of the end of the third quarter of last year, the fund had spent about $4.5 billion and helped nearly 250,000 home owners nationwide. The funding comes from the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP.
New Jersey can also apply for an additional $150 million by March 11, with award winners announced by the end of April. States that get this money will have until the end of 2020 to use it.