A new program run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development allows delinquent borrowers who are unemployed or suffering from a severe medical condition to receive assistance with mortgage payments for up to 24 months. The Emergency Homeowners Loan Program offers up to $50,000 to eligible borrowers at a 0% interest rate. HUD officials called it a true bridge loan because all deferred payments are forgivable provided the borrower lives in a home and remains current on payments for five consecutive years. But the program isn’t for everyone. Brian Sullivan, public affairs representative for HUD, said borrowers must have a consistent track record of making mortgage payments on time. A household’s yearly income also may not exceed 120% of the area median income and must have had its income reduced by at least 15% in two years due to sudden unemployment, underemployment or a medical condition. The property must be the borrower’s primary residence and at risk of foreclosure. “This is about families who were paying their mortgage, were current, were working, and then something happen,” Sullivan told HousingWire. “It’s for low- to middle-income, working families.” HUD announced plans for the program in August, after the agency was designated under Dodd-Frank to create an emergency homeowners assistance program with an allocated budget of $1 billion. Funding through the new program is only available in the 32 states and Puerto Rico that were not otherwise funded by the Hardest Hit Fund. Borrowers must meet with their local NeighborWorks division or state finance agencies with HUD approved standards to receive funding. NeighborWorks is a national nonprofit organization created by Congress to provide financial support, technical assistance and concealing services to homeowners. HUD hopes to begin accepting applications by the end of the year. HUD announced Tuesday how the $1 billion would be divided by state (chart below, in dollars): Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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