Unemployed homeowners in Massachusetts will be able to take out interest-free loans of up to $50,000 to help them make mortgage payments, under a $1 billion federal program unveiled today in Roxbury by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The program will provide about $61 million to struggling property owners in the state, according to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
"Countless people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own temporarily lack the steady income they need to pay their mortgage,'' Donovan said in prepared remarks. "That's why the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program will provide limited and targeted assistance to working families."
The effort, called the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program, is meant to supplement a $7.6 billion program launched by the US Treasury Department earlier this year to help jobless homeowners in 18 states and the District of Columbia, which were hardest hit by the recession. The Treasury program also targets homeowners who are "underwater," meaning they owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth.
The new program expands assistance to 32 states, as well as Puerto Rico, that were not included in the Treasury program. To qualify for loans of up to two years, borrowers must have suffered a significant drop in income and be at least three months behind on mortgage payments. They also must demonstrate "a reasonable likelihood of being able to resume" payments within two years.
Someone track down Rick Santelli, stat. Come to think of it, how's the Obama administration's previous housing "relief" program working out?