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State program aims to curb foreclosures

Unemployed residents having a hard time paying the mortgage could get help from a new statewide program.

Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday announced the creation of Hardest Hit Alabama, a new program providing $162 million for the prevention of foreclosure in Alabama.

The funding comes from Alabama’s share of $2 billion in federal funding set aside last August to help unemployed homeowners in the states with the highest unemployment rates.

The Alabama Housing Finance Authority has been allocated its share of federal funds to help unemployed or underemployed homeowners with temporary assistance to avoid foreclosure while they are unemployed.

“Record foreclosures and continued high unemployment are causes for concern for our state,” Bentley said. “Homeowners who have experienced a temporary loss of income can benefit from short-term assistance to help bridge the gap until they have restored their income. This assistance is designed to help families stay in their homes until they can they find employment.”

Eligible homeowners will receive assistance to pay their mortgage payments and all other mortgage-related expenses, including payments on any subordinate liens, while unemployed or underemployed. HHA will provide up to 12 monthly mortgage payments, or $15,000, per household.

Alabama homeowners who have been declared eligible by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations to receive state unemployment compensation benefits, either due to unemployment or underemployment, may apply.

To qualify, applicants must currently have a total annual household income of less than $75,740, and the unpaid principal balance on their home’s mortgages must be less than $258,690. The homeowner must currently occupy the property as their primary residence, and the home must be located in Alabama. Assistance will be available for single-family homes, attached or detached, and manufactured housing attached to real property.

“Responsible families across the state have found themselves unable to pay their mortgages due to joblessness,” AHFA Executive Director Robert Strickland said. “These homeowners are generally not eligible for loan modifications, putting them at substantial risk of mortgage default and foreclosure.

HHA is now accepting applications from homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage payments due to job loss. The program is being administered by the Alabama Housing Finance Authority. Interested homeowners must submit an application for Hardest Hit assistance through a secure Web site www.HardestHitAlabama.com. HHA is available statewide to qualified homeowners on a first-come, first-served basis.

Citizens needing information on regarding eligibility or to apply can visit www.HardestHitAlabama.com or call 1.877.497.8182.