Mississippi families facing foreclosure may be interested in the efforts of a diverse group of state, local and non-profit organizations. They are petitioning the Treasury Department for an extension of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which is set to expire on December 31. The program’s objective is to help homeowners who are experiencing financial distress avoid foreclosure. It has committed over $12 billion to struggling homeowners since its inception, but community leaders say many families still need help.

HAMP was created in 2009 as a response to the nation’s housing crisis. Initially, the program helped homeowners restructure their loans, but in 2012, it was expanded to assist in principal reduction and the facilitation of short-sales. Since 2009, the median monthly mortgage payment for HAMP participants has been reduced by $558, and 81 percent of participants have received a reduction in interest rates.

One popular HAMP feature is an unemployment program that provides mortgage forbearance for families who have recently lost employment or suffered a decline in income. Under the program, the homeowner may pay a reduced payment or no payment for a minimum of 12 months they focus on finding a new job. Over 30,000 have accessed the unemployment thus far.

Unfortunately, foreclosure has become an all too common occurrence since the housing crisis began. Homeowners who are struggling with payments have options and may benefit from meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The attorney could present alternatives to foreclosure that could help the homeowner work through their debts while staying in their home.

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