Students can still qualify for mortgage payment assistance

March 9, 2012 - 1:09pm -- braswell

POPLARVILLE _ Representatives of the Mississippi Home Corp.''s Home Saver programmet with Pearl River Community College officials March 5 to present an update on the programwhich is designed to assist students who may be eligible for help with their house payments. The Mississippi Home Corp.''s Home Saver program started last April 1 through a grantfrom the U.S. Department of Treasury Hardest Hit Fund. Joe Garvin is the Home Saver recruiter at PRCC. "This program is for people who have lost their jobs," said Dr. Ben Mokry, arepresentative of the Home Saver program. "It is still necessary. Our goal is to help 3,800 applicants. We have a positive message.We''re seeing the program working. It is useful to us to have the community college connection. Itis important that we continue with the education aspects of this program." The goal of Home Saver is to provide qualified homeowners with the time needed to findgainful employment and to increase their household income without the worry of potentialforeclosure. Mississippi Home Corp. partnered with the state''s 15 community colleges to reachpeople who have returned to school because of the current economic conditions. According to Garvin, students who qualify for the Home Saver Program can have theirmortgage completely paid for up to 24 months while they are completing their training orcommunity college hours. Dr. Mokry told the group that the application process has kept the program from movingalong as fast as they would like. "Right now, the application process takes too long," he said. "However, rules have beenchanged to make the process a little easier." Some of the eligibility requirements include: _ Reduction in income due to job loss or underemployment causing the homeowner to beunable to afford the current mortgage payment. _ Must be delinquent on mortgage payments or facing imminent risk of foreclosure. _ Monthly mortgage payment must be greater than 31 percent of gross monthly householdincome. _ Property must be the borrower''s primary residence. _ Borrower must have owned the property for at least 12 months. For homeowners who qualify, the program will pay the monthly mortgage payment for 12months. The homeowner can receive help for an additional 12 months by acquiring a certificationor degree from a state college within 24 months. Garvin adds that the benefits paid by the Home Saver Program do not count as income fortax purposes or for the FAFSA. Qualifying for and benefitting from this program will notadversely impact a student''s Pell Grant or other financial aid. "Our goal is to get as many students involved in the process as we can," Garvin said. To begin the application process which is online and convenient, the Mississippi HomeSaver Program is found at <a href="http://www.mshomesaver.com">www.mshomesaver.com</a>. For information, contact Garvin at601-403-1048, 601-466-6068 or at <a href="mailto:jgarvin@prcc.edu">jgarvin@prcc.edu</a>.