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Idahoans seek loans to save homes

HUD money funds emergency help

BOISE – Some 250 Idaho residents facing the loss of their homes have requested applications for an emergency home loan through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that has made available $13 million to the state.

That allows the Idaho Housing and Finance Association to begin taking applications from homeowners at risk of foreclosure due to layoffs, underemployment or medical conditions.

The agency started making the applications available late last week, receiving hundreds of calls.

“These 250 applications that we have sent out are people who will probably qualify for this help,” said Susan Semba, vice president of homeownership with IHFA, noting some screening is done on initial calls.

The money will help between 500 and 600 people, though there are likely many more who could use the money, she said. The money will be distributed to those who qualify on a first-come, first-served basis.

“You know there has to be a lot more out there who could use this help,” Semba said Thursday.

Idaho is among the top 10 states in per capita foreclosures for 26 consecutive months dating back to 2009, according to RealtyTrac, a national research group that tracks foreclosures.

That $13 million “is not going to go very far,” Gerald M. Hunter, president and executive director of the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, told the Idaho Statesman. “But every dollar is going to help. And it’s better than doing nothing.”

Homeowners applying for the money and who qualify will receive a loan to get their mortgage current. The maximum available per homeowner is $50,000.

The money can also be used to lower the homeowner’s monthly payment to 31 percent of their gross income. The additional loan amount can be used to help pay the mortgage for up to 24 months.

“The assumption is that at that point you have an obligation to resume full monthly mortgage payments,” said HUD spokesman Lee Jones.

HUD will forgive 20 percent of the loan per year if homeowners remain current on their mortgage for the next five years, he said.

“At the end of that time the homeowner is free and clear,” Jones said.


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