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State program will assist taxed homeowners

Aid to homeowners — Home Rescue Program will pay qualifying primary monthly ?mortgage payments for a year, up to $20,000


SALEM — Homeowners in Yamhill County struggling to keep their homes may receive a lifeline in the form of the state’s new Home Rescue Program.

The program, offered by the Oregon Homeownership Sta­bilization Initiative (OHSI), will help unemployed and underemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure by providing up to 12 monthly mortgage payments or $20,000, and pay out up to $10,000 to bring delinquent mortgages current.

Yamhill County homeowners will be eligible to apply online for the program for the first time at noon Wednesday, but the number of application slots are limited and expected to run out quickly, so people are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The application process runs on a two-week cycle and new slots will be made available every other Wednesday until program funds run out.

“This program will help local homeowners stay in their homes so they can focus on recovering from the difficult economic times we have been experiencing,” said Elise Hui, executive director of the Housing Authority of Yamhill County (HAYC). “If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, don’t hesitate to contact us for help.”

To be eligible, homeowners must demonstrate at least a 10-percent drop in current income compared to 2011 or 2012 and only first mortgages qualify. Other requirements include income less than 120 percent of the state median, based on household size, and that homes must be one-unit, single-family dwellings (condos and townhomes are eligible) not in active bankruptcy and with an unpaid principle below the county’s Federal Housing Association loan limit of $418,750 (with some exceptions). Only mortgages that are $10,000 or less delinquent are eligible for one-time payments to bring them current.

An eligibility questionnaire, along with a complete list of qualification requirements and further information, can be found online at www.oregonhomeownerhelp.org.

An overwhelming majority of mortgage servicers in the state are enrolled in the program, the only exceptions being American General Financial Services, AmTrust/ NY Community Bank, CCO Mortgage Corporation, Co­lum­bia Credit Union, Country Place Mortgage, ING Direct, Morgan Stanley Credit Corporation and OneMain Financial FNA/CitiFinancial.

The program’s two-week cycle includes a deadline to submit all supporting documentation no later than nine days after the application period opens (the second Friday following the Wednesday when new slots are made available). Applications must be made by the Tuesday following the beginning of the cycle.

According to the OHSI website, completing the online application and gathering all required supporting documents can take an hour or more and gathering documents before applying is recommended. A submission checklist is also available online.

The application review process, during which applications are checked for completeness by HYAC before they are reviewed by OHSI and the mortgage servicer, can take up to 120 days.

For those that are approved, the program will send payments – both monthly and one-time sums to bring mortgages current – directly to loan services. Loans are forgiven 20 percent per year for five years, after which the loan does not need to be repaid. Homeowners that sell or refinance before the five-year forgiveness period ends and have sufficient equity after paying off the mortgage may have to repay.

Yamhill is one of 28 counties that will gain access to the program for the first time Wednesday. Homeowners in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties were the only ones eligible to apply when the program kicked off July 3, with Lake and Klamath counties getting access July 17. Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties won’t be able to participate until Aug. 28.

The program is expected to help an estimated 250,000 homeowners across the state.

Homeowners without Internet access can apply at the HYAC office, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 135 NE Dunn Place in McMinnville, or visit www.worksourceoregon.com to locate centers in your area.

For more information, visit the OHSI website or call 503-986-2025.



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