Federal Program to Help Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

By Randy McIlwain
|  Tuesday, Jul 5, 2011  |  Updated 7:36 PM CDT
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Texas has received $135 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Randy McIlwain, NBCDFW.com

Texas has received $135 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The federal government is allocating $135 million toward helping Texas homeowners avoid foreclosure.

While the housing market in Texas remains better than many other states, thousands of North Texans still face foreclosure.

Until July 22, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is accepting pre-application screenings for the Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program.

The program awards a 0 percent forgivable loan to pay past-due mortgage payments and a portion of future mortgage payments for 24 months or up to $50,000.

The pre-applicant screening is fairly simple, with just 13 questions. Applicants have to provide tax information, pay stubs and the number of mortgage payments they have missed.

The loan program's counseling agencies will make initial eligibility determinations based on the pre-applicant screenings.

Eligible homeowners will then be selected to fill out applications for the loans. The loan application process will begin in late July.

If there are more eligible homeowners than loans, a lottery will select the homeowners who are asked to apply.

Qualified homeowners must have lost or reduced income and be at risk of foreclosure because of involuntary unemployment, underemployment or a medical condition.

The Bates family said its mortgage lender encouraged it to contact one of the organizations in North Texas processing the pre-screening applications: the Business and Community Lenders of Texas, the Dallas Urban League or the Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

Kyle Bates, a husband and father of three, has an incurable disease and has had 18 brain surgeries in his lifetime. His most recent surgery has made it impossible for him to go to work.

"To be honest, it was very humbling for me," he said.

His wife, Desiree Bates, said the family has mounting medical bills and faces losing its home.

"Sometimes I have to lock the door and sit in there and cry," she said.

"If we can get approved for this, I mean, this would be fantastic," she said.

Her husband said they are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We're seeing we're going to make it through all of this," he said. "It's been very encouraging."

The $1 billion federal program will help 30,000 homeowners in 32 states with an average loan of $135,000.

Recipients must live in the home an additional five years for the government to forgive the loan without payment.

More: How to Apply for the Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program

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