ATLANTA -- Tens of millions of dollars in federal money could be heading the state of Georgia soon. It's intended to keep people out of foreclosure.
For the past twelve months, Georgia's unemployment rate has exceeded the national average. Today, Georgia's unemployment rate stands at 10.0 percent. The national average is 9.5 percent. Now, Georgia and several other states are eligible for the Hardest Hit Agency Intervention Fund.
Georgia's Department of Community Affairs has already handed out $250 million in federal funding, much of it going to low-income rental properties. But now, the state could benefit from $126 million for housing relief for the unemployed, who were previously not eligible for most housing assistance.
"We will partner with housing counseling agencies partners throughout the state to provide the assistance directly to the homeowner," said Georgia Department of Community Affairs Assistant Commissioner Carmen Chubb.
The money may be made available in the form of ongoing payment assistance for the currently unemployed or as a lump sum for people who have fallen behind on their mortgage while they were unemployed, but have since found work.
"It's not just good for the family or the individual, but it's good for the state because it allows us not to have all the foreclosed properties vacant in communities, bringing down property values," Chubb said.
The Department of Community Affairs has until September 1 to the federal government for the funding. It could take as long as four to six months for the program to be up and running, leaving many unemployed homeowners looking for other solutions. "If they're currently working with their mortgage service or with a housing counseling agency they should continue to work on that avenue," Chubb said "We don't want anybody to stop anything and end up in foreclosure trying to access these funds."
The Department of Community Affairs has set up a hotline for more information about the program. That number is 1-877-519-4443.