by Mark Johnston
Over in the US home owners are having their own problems. Three families in Somerset County have managed to avoid repossession by taking advantage of an emergency mortgage loan program that is about to close.
Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is helping out homeowners in financial difficulty by offering emergency loans from a pot set aside by the local state government. Over 755 applicants have already received loans of around $27,000 and there is still a lot left in the fund. An insider said the Housing Finance Agency still has around £78 million in hand outs available but time is running out. Homeowners need to apply before the funding deadline of the 30th September after which the money is gone said the communications director of the housing agency, Steve Elliott.
The program to help those homeowners in dire needs was set up with $105 from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in Pennsylvania but much of the help has gone unused, many believe that its not that there aren’t a lack of people requiring assistance but they simply aren’t aware that the help is available.
Mr Eliiot went on to say: “When people become delinquent in their mortgage payments, many times they are reluctant to go for help. “They really should not delay, even if it is difficult to talk about, there is an opportunity for some homeowners to avoid foreclosure, but the time is limited to apply for the program,”
The fund was set up back in April 2010 to reach out to homeowners who in financial difficulties and may find it difficult to pay their mortgage. Jeffrey Masterson said “It is a real welcome addition to the toolbox for people to help save their homes, especially with the state’s Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program going away in this year’s budget. They really should not delay, even if it is difficult to talk about, there is an opportunity for some homeowners to avoid foreclosure, but the time is limited to apply for the program,”
Recently the United Way launched a telephone service in Pennsylvania which aims to help anyone in financial difficulty or who are having housing problems, heath care issues are trouble looking for work. Mr Elliot said “All the homeowners have to do is call us (or the United Way help line) and we will put them in touch with the counseling agency in their area, who will help them fill out the application,”
Under the program that gives financial help to struggling home owners. Applicants will know within a few weeks after they apply as to whether they have been accepted and will receive help. Mr Elliot said: “We do get a significant number of applicants who do not qualify for the loan, but that should not hold anyone back from approaching us”
The program aims to help home owners whose mortgage payments are at least three months in appears and have suffered a loss of earnings through jobs cuts or ill health. Applicants can apply for up to $50,000 although many are smaller than this and can use the money to pay off their appears and provide mortgage payments for up to two years.
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