orlando, florida – Paula Bijeau has been patiently waiting to get an update on her Homeowners Assistance Fund application since June.
A grandmother in East Orlando pays her bills by restoring furniture and jewelry and selling them on Facebook Marketplace.
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As of September 1, she owes over $11,000 in mortgage payments because the grace period provided by her bank has expired.
“I have paid for this house for nearly 30 years and am on the verge of losing it,” Bijou said. “I have a family and grandchildren who rely on me to keep a roof over their heads.”
Bijeau has spent sleepless nights wondering when her application for mortgage assistance will be reviewed and the funds will be issued.
Much to her dismay, the application number assigned to her displayed three words on the HAF’s computer screen: “Error Invalid Page”
She filed her first application in March and received payments on her Duke Energy bills, but never received any mortgage payments.
By September 3, the HAF program had already issued more than $384 million to 13,200 homeowners.
Despite these impressive numbers, hundreds of people across the state are awaiting answers on their applications for financial assistance, but this is the first of its kind.
“They’ve never seen anything like it,” Bijou said. “They know as little about my situation as I do.
News 6 and Make Ends Meet forwarded Bijeau’s case to the Deo-HAF team, and senior management resolved the issue within 48 hours.
“My application was floating somewhere, but no one could see it,” she said. “Nobody could do anything about it.”
DEO spokeswoman Leigh McGowan issued a statement to News 6, in part, writing:
“Thank you for contacting the Florida Department of Economic Opportunities (DEO) regarding Florida’s Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) program and Mr. Bijou’s request for assistance. The DEO will be happy to share details specific to HAF applicants. I can’t, but I’ve reached out to Mr. Bijou directly to help.”
McGowan said an invitation to apply does not guarantee funding.
“The DEO continues to prevent aggressive foreclosures and is now expanding every available dollar to reach even more homeowners. , we expect to help 50% more homeowners than we originally thought over the past 18 months.”
Bijou said he expects 18 months of financial relief, but would appreciate any financial help.
“It’s been a long road, but I’m sure we got the results we’re looking for,” she said.
HAF applicants and funded Florida homeowners can contact us through the Homeowners Assistance Fund Customer Assistance Center at 833-987-8997 Monday through Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For Florida homeowners with unmet needs, qualify for utility bills and other homeowner expenses through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and low-income households Other resources are available to help individuals with disabilities. Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).
Click here to learn about these valuable resources and how they can help Floridians keep up with homeowner spending.
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