|By David Pilley on July 18, 2011
CredAbility, formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, is a non-profit organization that offers credit counseling and education. It posts an A+ with the BBB, it has been BBB-accredited since May 1, 1987 (before I was born, seriously), and, since 2009, it has been named an intermediary with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In short, CredAbility has credibility. Just recently, a program has been started to help low-income homeowners avoid foreclosure.
In June CredAbility was selected by HUD to accept applications for the new Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP). This program will provide $1 billion to help approximately 30,000 homeowners in 27 states and Puerto Rico avoid foreclosure. The following states are where the program will be available: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Homeowners who meet the criteria may receive mortgage assistance for two years or up to $50,000. Here are the criteria you must meet:
It is also important to note that only the income of the person(s) who hold the mortgage will be used to determine eligibility. If selected, qualified homeowners will receive a zero percent interest loan that covers the amount of delinquent mortgage payments on their primary residence. The loan will also pay the delinquent amount owed on property taxes, mortgage/insurance premiums, homeowner association fees, and foreclosure-related fees; furthermore, as long as the homeowner continues making mortgage payments for the next five years after the program expires, this loan does not have to be repaid.
- Involuntary unemployment or underemployment caused by economic downturn or medical emergency
- minimum 15% reduction in income
- Income less than 120% AMI (Area Median Income) or below $75,000
- minimum three months delinquent on mortgage payments and at risk of foreclosure, as of June 1, 2011
- likelihood to resume full monthly mortgage payments in two years
The thing is, if you are interested, you must act fast. The pre-application screening process for EHLP is going on now, and it ends on July 22. The two documents for pre-screening— the Pre-Applicant Screening Worksheet and the Third-Party Authorization— must be submitted by this date. These pre-application documents will then be reviewed by counseling agencies (such as CredAbility), and all homeowners who have been accepted for the program will be notified by Oct. 1. If you meet the financial requirements stated in the bullets above, I strongly suggest you go to CredAbility’s website as soon as possible. When you click on the program’s link, you will enter your name, address, and phone number, and CredAbility will contact you with further program information.