Better late than never: Mortgage money for the unemployed

3:43 PM, Apr 6, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA (WXIA) -- About a year and half ago, the state of Georgia received $340 million from the federal government for HomeSafe Georgia -- a program to help unemployed workers pay their monthly mortgage payments.

Officials said news about the program barely trickled out at that point, and less than 1,000 homeowners recevied cash from it.

"I have my own home. I've been unemployed for almost 2 years and I've already spent all my 401k money," said Susan Konecny, when she learned of the program for the first time. "I think it would be awesome. If it works, great."

Konecny was not alone. Carlos Clemons was equally excited when he learned about HomeSafe Georgia for the first time. He said he's been out of work for almost a year, having worked for a major airline.

"That would be fantastic," he said. "How soon can I apply?"

Why did it take so long to get the word out?

"Making the program from scratch takes time to do. We had to make sure we had our systems in place. Noting like this existed in the state government before," said Phil Foil of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

While the state tried to figured out how to make HomeSafe Georgia work, thousands of unemployed homeowners ended up going into foreclosure.

To qualify for the program, homeowners must be the primary owner of their home and they must be unemployed.

A forum to help homeowners with information about the program and to help them apply will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Salem Bible Church in Lithonia.

Applicants need to bring their most recent 60 days worth of pay stubs and bank statements, their current mortgage statement, an unemployment letter, their 2011 tax return and their mortgage note itself.

"If people are losing their income they need to contact us right away," Foil said.

The Department of Community Affairs says they expect more than 18,000 people to sign up. Each approved homeowner is expected to receive an average of $16,000 in mortgage assistance.

For more information about the program, homeowners can visit http://www.homesafegeorgia.com/ or call 1-877-519-4443.

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