If you are behind on your mortgage payments because you lost your job, you may be able to get up to $50,000 in help from the government.

But act quickly.

This week, HUD announced a new interest-free government loan program for homeowners who are on the verge of foreclosure. It’s called the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP), but homeowners don’t have to repay the money if they stay current on their mortgage payments for five years after they receive the assistance.

HUD received about $1 billion for this program and expects it will be able to help up to 30,000 distressed borrowers, with an average loan of about $35,000.

Those who qualify for the loan will receive assistance to pay a portion of their monthly mortgage for up to two years, or up to $50,000, whichever comes first. The deadline to apply for the program is July 22.

To be eligible for the program, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Involuntary unemployment or underemployment through no fault of your own
  • A minimum 15 percent reduction in income
  • You must be at least three months delinquent on your mortgage payments and at risk of foreclosure as of June 1, 2011. You must have a letter from your mortgage company verifying these conditions.
  • A reasonable likelihood to resume full monthly mortgage payments by the end of the program’s second year;
  • Income must be less than 120 percent of the area median income

To learn more about the program and get a pre-screening application go to www.FindEHLP.org or call
855-346-3345

The EHLP program will be offered in 32 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, plus Puerto Rico.

If your state is not included here it’s because your state already has a similar program, called the Hardest-Hit. The government allocated $7.6 billion for that program to help homeowners in states that have been hit the hardest by foreclosure and unemployment crisis. Florida is one of those states and received about $1 billion for the program. But I’ve heard the majority of the people who apply are rejected because they don’t meet the requirements.

I’m curious to know how helpful EHLP is really going to be, considering most of these foreclosure prevention programs have been a disaster.

Have you tried applying for EHLP or for similar mortgage assistance programs? Please share your experience. Was it helpful to you?

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