Time Running Out for Oregon Mortgage Assistance

January 6, 2011 (Jeff Alan)
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Time is running out for Oregon residents, who can receive up to one year of mortgage payments, or a total of $20,000, which is up for grabs in the Mortgage Payment Assistance Program (MPA), and you can still apply until Jan. 14.

And homeowners do not even need to be in foreclosure to be eligible for the money.

“A homeowner doesn’t even have to be in default to apply for this program,” according to Emily Reiman, Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation Regional Housing Center Manager in Lane County. ”If a homeowner has been drawing on savings or retirement accounts, they could be eligible for the money. It sounds a little bit too good to be true to think that you could have your mortgage paid for a year.”

Other eligibility requirements include being unemployed or underemployed. For example, if you make 120 percent of the median income, which is about $74,000 for a family four, and if you’ve lost 25 percent of your income, you could be eligible for financial assistance. Homeowners can find the complete eligibility requirements online at http://www.oregonhomeownerhelp.org/.

The year-long payments are technically a loan, but at no interest. And the government will forgive 20 percent of the loan for every year you stay in your home. If you stay in the home for five years, which equals 100 percent, you don’t have to repay the loan, and you don’t have to pay income tax on the “gift.”

The MPA is the first program under the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative (OHSI) to be launched. Oregon Housing and Community Services, the state’s housing finance agency, created OHSI to deliver four programs to help homeowners experiencing unemployment or a significant loss of income due to the recent recession.

The MPA program is the largest of the four programs at $100 million. It will help at least 5,000 homeowners pay their mortgages for up to one year or to a maximum payout of $20,000, whichever comes first.

Oregon was identified as one of the nation’s “Hardest Hit” states because of its high rate of unemployment in 2009. The U.S. Treasury granted Oregon $220 million to deliver foreclosure prevention programs.

To start, click here. If you are at immediate risk of foreclosure, call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).

Tags: mortgage payment assistance, oregon, homeowners, foreclosure, interest free loan, unemployment, mpa, recession, homeowners mortgages