South Carolina has almost $200 million to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, but many homeowners who could use the help either don’t know about the program or haven’t applied.
The program is called SC HELP, and it’s for homeowners who are unemployed, underemployed, or who have had some kind of hardship that has left them behind in paying their mortgage. If a homeowner qualifies, the program will pay his mortgage, up to $36,000 or 24 months.
To qualify, a homeowner cannot be in bankruptcy, and the home cannot be valued at more than $729,750.
Nichole Knitz of Irmo lost her engineering job when the company she worked for down-sized. When she tried to get other jobs to pay her bills, she was overqualified. Then she foreclosure papers.
"Very panicked; no sleep; a lot of depression,” she says. “A lot of different things of: where to go? What am I going to do? Cause there isn't anything. It's like, okay, you start thinking about homelessness, okay? Can I live in my car? Can I live with family members?"
She found out about SC HELP, applied, qualified, and now she doesn’t have to worry about losing her home while she continues looking for a full-time job.
"Totally a sense of relief and be able to focus on trying to get my feet back on the ground and get back on track," she says.
South Carolina got $295 million from the federal government for the program back in 2010, but has spent about $98 million of it, so there’s plenty left for homeowners who qualify.
To apply, you can call 1-855-435-7472 or go to www.SCHELP.gov.
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