Free money to save homes from foreclosure

1:01 AM, Sep 29, 2011   |    comments
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  • Before your home belongs to the bank, you could get free money to save it.

    Are you missing out on a share of $570 million to help pay your mortgage?

    A New Year ushered in a new fear for Dan Herd -- Unemployment.

    No paycheck meant no way to pay for the mortgage.

    "Thinking if I'm going to lose my house, where are we all going to go from there," said Herd.

    With eight people under Herd's roof, he immediately filed for unemployment, but the check wouldn't cover the mortgage.

    "If it did, it wouldn't leave money to pay the rest of the bills," he explained.

    The woman helping Herd through the paperwork process told him to sign up for the "Restoring Stability" program, a government grant that helps pay people's mortgages.

    Within seven months, the grant payed for the $6,000 that Herd was behind on his mortgage payments. He also gets $900 every month toward his $1,100 mortgage.

    "It's a big relief," Herd said, "It's a process I would encourage anyone to go through."

    The problem is -- not many people are going through the process. Even though Ohio has $570 million ready to give, families in need aren't tapping into the fund.

    In fact, nationwide, only 1 percent of the money available has been used since the program started a year ago.

    "The main overall gist of the program is to help those who are unemployed or underemployed," says Anthony Valentino, with ESOP, a foreclosure prevention agency.

    He says homeowners are sometimes skeptical of the free money and there is one catch.

    "It is grant money and you don't necessarily have to pay it back, unless you move out of your home in five years," Valentino said.

    Most homeowners, like Herd, don't want to leave their homes any time soon. Especially when they've already lost so much.

    "I would have tried to done anything short of criminal intent to try and keep this place," Herd said.

    For more information regarding the program, please call ESOP at 216-361-0718.

    WKYC-TV

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