HUD releases unemployment mortgage assistance to 27 states
The Department of Housing and Urban Development launched a long-awaited program to provide interest-free loans to help unemployed borrowers in 27 states with their mortgage payments. "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 today in 27 states and Puerto Rico to help families keep their homes while looking for work or recovering from illness." The program was created under the Dodd-Frank Act, and HUD will provide $1 billion to implement it. Eligible homeowners can qualify for up to $50,000 in interest-free loans. The money will assist with mortgage payments for up to two years. HUD said borrowers at risk of foreclosure because of involuntary unemployment, underemployment or a medical condition can benefit from the program. The department expects the program to reach up to 30,000 distressed borrowers with an average loan of roughly $35,000. Since October, consumer advocacy groups began asking for distributions. HUD said previously applications would be accepted this spring. The House of Representatives voted in March to end the program before it began, however, claiming the U.S. government can no longer afford such subsidies. The Senate has not yet taken up the bill. HUD will offer the program in 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 other states Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, and Pennsylvania already began administering similar programs. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.