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How to Avoid Foreclosure with HomeSafe Georgia Assistance

When Neil Ann Raffen of Conyers lost her job three years ago, she began to search how to avoid foreclosure. A substance abuse counselor for 11 years, Raffen had recently returned from knee surgery when she was abruptly laid off. Though she worked part time and received $300 weekly in unemployment compensation, she struggled to pay the bills and worried how she would keep her condominium.

Her fortunes slowly began to change, however, when she discovered HomeSafe Georgia. For homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed, the program provides temporary mortgage payments for up to 24 months. Once she qualified for the program, it provided Raffen with the funds needed to stay in her home. With the stress of paying a mortgage gone, HomeSafe allowed her to focus primarily on finding a new job.

To date, HomeSafe Georgia has helped nearly 6,000 Georgia households keep their homes and avoid foreclosure. The program helps eligible homeowners who, through no fault of their own, have been unemployed or underemployed in the last 36 months.

As part of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund, Georgia received $339 million to help homeowners avoid foreclosure while they seek a new job. The program is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in Atlanta.

“Nearly every Georgia homeowner who loses a job wants to know how to avoid foreclosure,” says Gretchen Corbin, commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Many of these people can benefit from the temporary financial help available from HomeSafe Georgia. This program helps homeowners get back on their feet while also helping preserve neighborhoods that, otherwise, could be damaged by foreclosures.”

As it turned out, Raffen only needed funds from HomeSafe Georgia for a few months before she secured a new job as an elementary school teacher. Once she started working, Raffen took over her monthly mortgage payments on her own.

“I love my home. HomeSafe Georgia not only saved it from foreclosure, but the program also gave me the stability I needed,” Raffen said. “With the mortgage payment handled, I didn’t have to worry about the payment while also trying to find another job.”

HomeSafe Georgia – How to Qualify and Get Help Avoiding Foreclosure

Homeowners from 128 counties have been able to keep their homes through HomeSafe Georgia. To learn more about the program’s requirements and apply for help at www.HomeSafeGeorgia.com or call 1-877-519-4443.

To qualify, homeowners must provide documents verifying their mortgage, former employment and other financial details. In addition, they must meet several other requirements. For example, a homeowner must be no more than twelve months behind on mortgage payments and must not be in bankruptcy. The homeowner also cannot have liquid assets over the household limit, which does not include any retirement accounts.

While HomeSafe Georgia is aimed primarily at unemployed or underemployed homeowners, the program was expanded earlier this year to help others trying to cope with temporary financial hardships. These new features include:

* Reinstatement: Homeowners who can make mortgage payments now, but became delinquent on their mortgage due to a military, medical, or death hardship within the last 36 months may qualify for assistance. A one-time payment of up to 12 mortgage payments is available, allowing those who experienced a significant income reducing hardship for a short period to catch up on back payments.

* Recast and Modification Program: Homeowners with a permanent reduction of income may qualify for up to $45,000 in assistance to reduce their mortgage to an affordable level. In conjunction with loan modifications made by participating lenders, this assistance can help homeowners who have experienced a permanent loss of income from an eligible hardship. The homeowner’s lender must participate in the HomeSafe Georgia program. This option provides a long term solution to address permanent reductions in income.

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