Merkley: $50 Million for Foreclosure Assistance Will Help Unemployed Oregonians Stay in Their Homes

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that Oregon will receive nearly $50 million in additional funding to assist homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to the loss of a job.  In recent days, Senator Merkley has spoken about foreclosure assistance with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Obama, urging them to do more to help families at risk of losing their homes.

“High unemployment is weighing down families in Oregon and many risk losing their homes.  This funding – almost $50 million for our state – will help Oregonians who have lost a job through no fault of their own while they get back on their feet,” Merkley said.  “To make the economy work for families again, it’s critical that we work to preserve home ownership and assist those who have been left most vulnerable.”

The new support comes as part of a $2 billion expansion of the Administration’s Hardest Hit Fund – providing awards to Housing Finance Agencies in 17 states and the District of Columbia.  Oregon first received $88 million for foreclosure assistance through the Hardest Hit Fund in March.  Under the additional assistance announced today, states eligible to receive support have all experienced an unemployment rate at or above the national average over the past 12 months. Each state will use the funds for targeted unemployment programs that provide temporary assistance to eligible homeowners to help them pay their mortgage while they seek re-employment, additional employment or undertake job training.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will soon launch a complementary $1 billion Emergency Homeowners Loan Program to provide assistance – for up to 24 months – to homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and have experienced a substantial reduction in income due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment, or a medical condition.