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Deadline for mortgage help extended

Struggling homeowners get two more weeks to submit applications to US loan program

By Jenifer B. McKim
Globe Staff / September 2, 2011

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Financially stressed homeowners who feared they had missed the deadline to apply for mortgage help through a federal no-interest loan program now have two more weeks to submit applications, housing officials say.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development reopened the application process this week for unemployed homeowners to seek up to $50,000 in borrowing for mortgage payments. As much as $61 million is scheduled to be dispersed in Massachusetts - enough to help more than 1,200 distressed homeowners. The loans can be forgiven over time, if borrowers meet certain requirements.

The program, approved by Congress last summer, is supposed to provide $1 billion in loans in 32 states and Puerto Rico. Applications in most states were made available in late June. Under the legislation, the money must be allocated by Sept. 30. The federal government closed the application process on July 27, but now has reopened it through Sept. 15.

“We just want to be absolutely certain that these funds get into the hands of the qualified families that need them most,’’ said HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan.

To qualify, a homeowner’s income must have dropped by at least 15 percent due to unemployment, a pay cut, or a health emergency. They must also be at least three months behind on mortgage payments and facing foreclosure.

To apply for a loan, call 855-346-3345, or go to www.findehlp.com.

Jenifer B. McKim can be reached at jmckim@globe.com