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State rolls foreclosure-prevention program

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency announced Wednesday that a new state foreclosure-prevention fund is available through participating U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved counseling agencies.

Financed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, the program will make mortgage payments for qualified unemployed workers while they seek jobs or complete job training in a new field, said Robert Kucab, executive director of the NCHFA. Others who have gotten behind on mortgage payments because of divorce, illness or other hardships may qualify for help while they seek jobs.

The program is expected to be available during the next three to five years.

Kucab expects the fund to enable 21,000 unemployed workers in the state to keep their homes.

By reducing the number of foreclosure sales, the program will also help stabilize property values, Kucab said.

The program will provide zero-interest, deferred loans of up to $24,000 or 24 months of mortgage-related payments. In counties with soaring unemployment, the maximum assistance is $36,000 or 36 months. Homeowners will resume making their own mortgage payments at the end of the loan period. If the owner continues to live in the home for 10 years, no payments will be due on the loan.

Agencies serving Mecklenburg County are Alliance Credit Counseling in Charlotte; Prosperity Unlimited with offices in Kannapolis, Locust and Mooresville; and United Family Services in Charlotte, Cornelius, Concord and Monroe.

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