Home Local News HUD: $14.8M in foreclosure aid for PR
Issued : Monday, July 11, 2011 04:05 PM
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HUD: $14.8M in foreclosure aid for PR

By : KEVIN MEAD

Puerto Rico homeowners have less than two weeks to file for part of a nearly $14.8 million allotment to the island under a new $1 billion U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development program to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

HUD and NeighborWorks America launched the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP) in 27 states and Puerto Rico.

Congress provided $1 billion dollars to HUD, as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, to implement EHLP. The program will assist homeowners who have experienced a reduction in income and are at risk of foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment, due to economic conditions or a medical condition.

Under EHLP program guidelines eligible homeowners can qualify for an interest free loan which pays a portion of their monthly mortgage for up to two years, or up to $50,000, whichever comes first.

“Through the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program the Obama administration is continuing our strong commitment to help keep families in their homes during tough economic times,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Working with our community partners across the nation through NeighborWorks America, we are pleased to launch this program in 27 states and Puerto Rico to help families keep their homes while looking for work or recovering from illness.”

The EHLP program will pay a portion of an approved applicant’s monthly mortgage including missed mortgage payments or past due charges including principal, interest, taxes, insurances, and attorney fees. EHLP is expected to aid up to 30,000 distressed borrowers, with an average loan of approximately $35,000.

“Through our work around the country, NeighborWorks America knows all too well that in these tough economic times, homeowners facing foreclosure are seeking help wherever they can find it. The deadline is July 22, 2011, so we encourage homeowners to apply now in order to find out if they qualify for this new mortgage assistance program and learn more about the many options available to assist those with housing needs,” stated Eileen M. Fitzgerald, CEO of NeighborWorks America.

The EHLP program is a complement to the Hardest Hit Fund which makes available $7.6 billion to 18 states and the District of Columbia that were hardest hit by the housing crisis. The EHLP program will be offered in the following states: 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 and Puerto Rico. Five states operating substantially similar programs are administering EHLP directly: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. With today’s launch, mortgage assistance is now available for unemployed and underemployed homeowners in every state.

Contact information for participating agencies, the Pre-Applicant Screening Worksheet and more information on the EHLP program and its eligibility requirements can be found a twww.FindEHLP.orgor by calling toll free at 855-FIND-EHLP (346-3345).

HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and epanol.hud.gov.

Applications will be available soon and will be accepted until July 22.

To apply for funds, homeowners must contact a nonprofit credit counseling organization approved by HUD.

To be eligible for the program, homeowners must meet the following conditions:

— Involuntary unemployment or underemployment caused by adverse economic conditions or a medical emergency or serious injury

— A minimum 15% reduction in income

— A minimum three months delinquent on mortgage payments and at risk of foreclosure as of June 1, 2011. Homeowners must have a letter from their mortgage company verifying these conditions.

— A reasonable likelihood to resume full monthly mortgage payments by the end of the program's second year

— Income must be less than 120% AMI (Area Median Income) or $75,000 or below

— Income will be evaluated along with the income of anyone else on the mortgage note. Only the income of the persons on the mortgage note will be used to determine eligibility.

Qualified homeowners will receive a zero percent interest loan that covers the amount of mortgage payments past due on their primary residence. It will also pay 100 percent of the delinquent amount due to cover property taxes, mortgage and hazard insurance premiums, homeowner association fees and foreclosure-related fees. The loan does not have to be repaid, as long as the homeowner continues making mortgage payments on time for five years.

Applications must be received by July 22. After that date, applications will be reviewed by counseling agencies to determine which homeowners are eligible for the program. All homeowners who qualify will be notified before October 1.

The Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority has also launched a $20 million “Protecting Your Home” program to provide aid aimed at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.

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