Help with mortgage available
By Shavonne Potts
If you’ve recently become unemployed and want to continue your education, but are scared you may lose your home, relax. There is help.
The state’s Home Protection Program helps workers by providing zero-interest loans where payment is deferred for 15 years.
“They have to be laid off. They will make your mortgage payment for two years or up to $24,000,” said Lou Adkins, of the Salisbury Community Development Corp.
Adkins is a housing counselor with the Salisbury program. The program makes a monthly mortgage payment, which can include a first or second mortgage.
The program was established locally in 2004, but has now expanded and is offered statewide.
“It started in 2004 after Pillowtex closed. We were one of eight original counties doing this,” she said.
So far, Rowan has processed 497 loans since the program’s inception and has doled out $827,000.
Some people who lost their jobs from companies like Pillowtex, GDX or Freightliner, Adkins said, have gone back to school, learned other skills and are now employed.
People who apply can pay back the loan anytime within that 15 years. But they must receive credit counseling.
“Most people have been happy to go to credit counseling,” Adkins said.
She said the program just wants to make sure that if it is assuming the mortgage payments, the homeowner knows how to wisely use his money.
There is a credit counselor availabe at the Salisbury Community Development Corp two days a week.
The United Way pays for the counselor who comes from Greensboro to Salisbury.
“It’s really been a blessing. We have so many success stories of people who have gone to college and finished school,” Adkins said.
She warns interested people there is a lot of paperwork and applicants must have pretty good credit before the layoff.
There is money available, she said.
“We have used about 16 percent of the whole amount,” Adkins said.
In the past, the program has given $3 million to $5 million in assistance to the public.
The amount and length of the assistance varies and is based on the homeowners’ circumstances.
Once eligibility is confirmed, the N.C. Housing Finance Agency will place a temporary stay of foreclosure on the property for up to 120 days.
To be eligible for a loan, homeowners must meet the following criteria:
– Have lost their job due to changing economic conditions within the last two years
– Have a mortgage that is secured by real property
– Have a stable employment and credit history prior to losing their job
– Be a legal resident of the U.S. who owns property in North Carolina that is the principal residence
Repayment is essentially deferred for 15 years, unless the home is sold, refinanced or is no longer the principal residence of the owner.
The General Assembly created the Home Protection Program in 2004 through collaboration with the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, the N.C. Justice Center and the N.C. Housing Coalition. Since then, the program has helped more than 500 families pay their mortgages while they seek jobs or retrain for new jobs.
For more information, contact Adkins at 704-638-2154.