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A few years ago, #mymister and I were going to close on a house. We had put down a deposit, our offer was accepted, and we had a closing date. But, something told us things were not right. We started looking at the value of the house and seeing it was dropping by 2K a week. At the time, there were so many people having to sell on shortsale or being foreclosed on. They were telling us how they had a mortgage for say $350K, but the house was only worth $180K, so they were actually better off selling on shortsale. It’s a good thing we didn’t go through with the sale, because #mymister was laid off two weeks after the planned closing date. So the lesson learned was that losing your home could happen in the blink of an eye and for unexpected circumstances. We took a few years off, but now have entered into a government program to begin the process of purchasing home. It may take a year or more to get it, but we know that the process is preparing us to be ready to become homeowners, with less of a risk of foreclosure.

Now there are some of you already facing foreclosure. In support of the Ad Council, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, I am helping to spread the word that real help is available to families who are behind on their mortgage payments, or worried about how they will make the next one. Nearly one in 17 homeowners nationwide has fallen behind on his or her mortgage payments, putting them at a higher risk of foreclosure. Homeowners should not feel alone, but many do.

That is why the Making Home Affordable® (MHA) program provides free resources and assistance for distressed homeowners who are working hard at juggling expenses to makes ends meet. Many of these homeowners may be unaware that MHA has expanded its options, and may have a solution available to address their particular financial situation. Moreover, the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) – available in 18 states and the District of Columbia — also helps real people get back on their feet and on the road to financial stability in states hit hard by the economic and housing downturn.

Across the country, more than 1.5 million families have already benefited from MHA. Through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), homeowners have been able to reduce their monthly mortgage payments by approximately $500 each month. That’s real payment relief.

Homeowners across the U.S. need to know help is available now and here’s how:

    • Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) – HAMP® is designed to lower monthly mortgage payments, making them more affordable and sustainable for the long-term.
      • HAMP achieves a more affordable payment by adjusting the mortgage interest rate, extending the term of the loan, and reducing or forbearing principal.
      • Homeowners have saved about $500 per month.
      • Through HAMP, homeowners can get help with their primary residence or rental property.
      • Homeowners who owe significantly more than their home is worth (>115% Loan-To Value or LTV ratio) are automatically evaluated for principal reduction.
      • Just for making timely payments, homeowners could earn up to $10,000, which is used to reduce the principal balance of their mortgage.
    • Hardest Hit Fund (HHF)– HHF programs are designed to complement MHA programs and provide assistance to struggling homeowners, through modifications, mortgage payment assistance, and transition assistance programs. HHF programs vary state to state, but often include:
        • Mortgage payment assistance for unemployed or underemployed homeowners.
        • Principal reduction to help homeowners get into more affordable mortgages.
        • Funding to eliminate homeowners’ second lien loans.
        • Help for homeowners who are transitioning out of their homes and into more affordable places of residence.

      Here are some video testimonials from real people with genuine success stories after using the MHA resources. These homeowners were able to overcome potential foreclosure and save their homes. Their stories are a true testament to Making Home Affordable.

Through the Federal Making Home Affordable program, many homeowners have received much-needed help to reduce their monthly payments, get mortgage relief, and avoid foreclosure. Homeowners who are struggling to make mortgage payments can call 888-995-HOPE or visit for free resources and information to help them with their mortgage problems and avoid foreclosure. By calling 888-995-HOPE, homeowners can speak with a housing expert at a HUD-approved counseling agency at no cost, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and identify potential solutions based on their individual circumstances.

If you are struggling, definitely check them out. Even if you are not struggling, you never know when when the unplanned could strike, so bookmark this resource if you are a homeowner:

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, I have been compensated as a Twitter Party consultant in the past. This information was shared with me in the form of a PSA distributed via Element Associates on behalf of the Ad Council, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,  All opinions expressed are my own.