Economy
8:22 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Window Closing on Federal Foreclosure Aid

Homeowners facing foreclosure have just a few days left to submit applications for federal assistance.

Of $105 million available to Pennsylvanians through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, only $50 million has been committed so far, with about $4 million of that in southwestern Pennsylvania. The remainder of the money is still available through HUD's "Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program" — that is, until Friday.

Julie DeSeyn, Director of the United Way's "PA 2-1-1 Southwest" housing hotline, said about 1,000 people in the region have been urged to apply for EHLP loans through her service.

DeSeyn said as the September 16 EHLP application deadline draws near, local housing nonprofits will be hustling to send more completed applications to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency in Harrisburg.

The EHLP loans can total as much as $50,000 over a two-year period, giving homeowners assistance with mortgage payments. Homeowners are eligible when unemployment, underemployment, or injury causes at least a 15% drop in income.

DeSeyn said even after EHLP is finished, those in danger of home foreclosure should still call 2-1-1 to get help.

"That's not to say that foreclosure assistance is all that common," said DeSeyn. "It's difficult to find, which is one of the reasons why [the] Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program was so important. But those are funds for helping to prevent foreclosures that haven't done so well in the budget."

DeSeyn said her 2-1-1 service actually launched earlier than anticipated due to HUD's April announcement that EHLP funds would be available to Pennsylvania.

The original deadline for EHLP aid was September 30, but that was bumped up by the Housing Finance Agency.