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New Jersey may help some to stop foreclosure this quarter

When New Jersey was identified as one of 17 states that was hardest hit by the housing crisis, the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program gave New Jersey approximately $300 million to help people keep their homes. The program was slow in starting, but now expects to help approximately 1,000 people stop foreclosure from happening to them.

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency is in charge of the New Jersey Home-Keeper program. The program gives eligible applicants no interest, deferred payment mortgage loans up to $48,000. It began around March 2011, but the eligibility requirements were so stringent that the program only awarded 56 grants from the program's inception through Dec. 2011. Since then, the program has steadily increased the number of grants by loosening the eligibility requirements and speeding up the application process.

Now that the program is moving at a faster pace, more people may be eligible for the loans. The hope is to get the money to as many as 1,000 people by the end of the year. However, there will still be people who are in danger of foreclosure that won't qualify for the program.

For those homeowners, there may be another viable option to stop foreclosure. Filing for bankruptcy protection bars a lender from taking further action and may give the homeowner the breathing room needed to resolve all financial problems. There are several bankruptcy options to choose from, and it is possible to propose a plan to repay debts and keep one's home. For those New Jersey residents where debt has simply spiraled out of control, bankruptcy offers the opportunity to discharge debt and achieve a fresh financial start.

Source: Nj.com, "Gov. Christie says foreclosure aid fell short," Jenna Portnoy, Oct. 2, 2012

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