Silverman Applauds Launch of Reverse Mortgage Relief Program for District Seniors

D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) applauded the launch this month of a new assistance program for District seniors who are at risk of foreclosure due to unpaid property taxes after taking out a reverse mortgage. The program was created out of the Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2017, a bill that Councilmember Silverman introduced last council period and worked to fund in this year’s budget.

“This program means that a senior is no longer at risk of losing their longtime home simply because they were unaware or unable due to declining health to pay property taxes and other home related expenses,” said Silverman.

The D.C. Housing Finance Agency now offers the Reverse Mortgage Insurance and Tax Payment Program (ReMIT) to help qualified District homeowners with one-time, zero-interest deferred loans to relieve the burden of unpaid property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and related expenses that put residents at risk of foreclosure.

Joanne Savage, a Legal Counsel for the Elderly attorney, regularly represents low-income reverse mortgage foreclosure defendants who appear in Superior Court. “We know this program will mean the difference between a vulnerable senior living their remaining years in their home or not,” said Savage.

To qualify for assistance through ReMIT, applicants must have a reverse mortgage for their primary residence. The home must also be considered at risk of foreclosure due to unpaid property taxes and/or homeowner’s insurance. In addition to an annual income that falls at or below $77,540, applicants must also be able to prove that they can keep up with taxes, insurance, and home maintenance going forward.

“We see better health outcomes and citywide economic benefits when our senior residents stay in their homes, in addition to more stable neighborhoods when properties are continuously occupied,” said Silverman. “Investing in seniors is also a smart financial move for the city: providing a subsidy is much less costly than providing replacement housing for residents who might lose their homes.”

The Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2017 was originally introduced by Councilmember Silverman in October 2017 with the support of seven other councilmembers.