HAP can help ease woes brought on by mortgage crisis
April 1, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- If the value of property you own has been affected by a base closing or realignment action that sent real estate values plummeting, or you fall into certain categories, then the Department of Defense's Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program may be able to get you out of a tight spot.
Some relief can be provided to wounded military and civilian employees, surviving spouses of fallen warriors, people affected by the 2005 Base Relocation and Closings actions and military members making a permanent change of station move.
Additionally, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 temporarily expands the HAP to assist service members and DoD employees who are wounded, injured or become ill when deployed, surviving spouses of service members or DoD employees killed or died of wounds while deployed, service member and civilian employees assigned to BRAC '05 organizations, and service members required to permanently relocate during the home mortgage crisis.
A briefing at Army Community Service March 25 attracted a mix of Army and Air Force members, as well as spouses and DoD civilians to listen to Cal Pierce, HAP assistant program manager from Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, explain eligibility criteria and offer help to those caught in the real estate slide of the past few years.
"HAP is there to offer relief to those wounded warriors and surviving spouses, as well as those caught on the wrong side of the mortgage crisis," Pierce said.
"For those who qualify, the government can help them out of a hole caused by the closure of a base or the sharp drop in home values in the past few years."
HAP is available to eligible service members and federal civilian, including non-appropriated fund, employees. The program, administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, assists eligible homeowners who face financial loss when selling their primary residence homes in areas where real estate values have declined because of a base closure or realignment announcement.
The program is not available to service members who retire before reaching their mandatory retirement date, people just entering active duty, those who are voluntarily separated or discharged, those discharged under less than honorable conditions, members who request and receive voluntary Release From Active Duty, or those who are REFRAD for misconduct or poor performance.
"Temporary and contract workers are also not eligible for the program," Pierce added. "There is still plenty of money in the program and this can really help if you are upside-down on your mortgage"
The program's Web site at http://hap.usace.army.mil goes into great detail about application procedures, eligibility requirement, frequently asked questions, where and how to submit paperwork and much more.