$1 Billion in Homeowner Aid Offered

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Homeowners facing foreclosure can now tap into a $1 billion program of emergency loans to help tide them over a temporary financial crisis, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced.

Beginning today, homeowners in 27 states can file preliminary applications for the Emergency Homeowner's Loan Program (EHLP). Eligible homeowners can obtain interest-free loans of up to $50,000 to help cover mortgage expenses for up to two years.


The program is available to homeowners who have seen their incomes fall and who could lose their homes to foreclosure due to circumstances beyond their control, including involuntary unemployment, underemployment, economic conditions or an illness.


The program is a counterpart to the $7.6 billion Hardest Hit Fund and is available only to homeowners in states not covered by that program. The Hardest Hit Fund provides foreclosure avoidance assistance to homeowners in states that have been most seriously affected by the declining housing market and economic downturn.


The new initiative is expected to provide assistance to up to 30,000 homeowners, with loans averaging $35,000 each. Loans may be used to pay a portion of monthly mortgage bills, including missed mortgage payments or past due charges including principal, interest, taxes, insurances, and attorney fees.


Homeowners seeking assistance must complete a pre-application screening workshop by July 22 in order to be considered for the program. As demand is expected to exceed the amount of funding available, qualifying homeowners will be chosen at random to complete the application process.


More information on the program, including links to the pre-application worksheet, are available on the NeighborWorks web site at http://www.nw.org/network/foreclosure/nfmcp/EHLPconsumers.asp. NeighborWorks is partnering with HUD to carry out the program.


States served by the program are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. EHLP is also offered in Puerto Rico.


In addition, the five states of Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland and Pennsylvania have established their own anti-foreclosure programs that are similar to EHLP and are receiving funds through the EHLP program. Residents of those states may apply for assistance through their state housing agency or similar agency.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Banking and Loans

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