Game changer: More residents can qualify for mortgage relief with change in income criteria

Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (PNC file photo)

Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) executive director Ray Topasna announced Thursday that a change in the income criteria used in the federal mortgage relief program will increase the number of Guam residents who can qualify for the program.

During a meeting of the Interagency on Homelessness and Office of Homelessness Assistance and Poverty Prevention, Topasna said Guam Housing Corporation can now authorize the use of the Internal Revenue Service 1040 definition of income and not the definition used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Topasna said HUD’s definition requires that the real estate assets be considered to be part of the household income, which he said was problematic.

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“The IRS definition could be a game changer. We believe it to be for many who were initially determined to be ineligible. Once approved, the Guam Housing Corporation can take a second look at the disapproved applications,” Topasna said.

According to Topasna, 539 application packets for mortgage relief were picked up and 131 applications were received by GHC. Of this, only three have been approved and paid out.

A total of 47 have been disapproved and they were disapproved primarily because the applicants were above the income thresholds or they have entered into agreements with their banks for forbearance or deferment.

This, Topasna pointed out, is the reason why the change in income criteria is so important.

Topasna said GHURA has already communicated the income criteria change to the Guam Housing Corporation.

“What’s pending is just an official letter from Guam Housing to apply the new definition. But there’s nothing to stop them from moving forward with reviewing the 47 applications that were initially deemed ineligible. So that’s great news,” Topasna said.