5 On Your Side

Behind on bills? State offers help

Posted August 18, 2014
Updated August 19, 2014

When the economy tanked, Tonia Jackson lost her job.

After a year of looking for work, bills started piling up and her unemployment benefits were not enough.

"I would use basically one credit card to pay a bill and then transfer the balance, because I was playing a sorting game,” she said. “I was out of money"

Then Jackson found out about the North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund. The program offers interest-free loans of up to $36,000 for up to three years.

Loan applicants must meet specific criteria:

  1. You own the home, the home is in North Carolina, and the home is your primary residence.
  2. You currently owe no more than $300,000 on all your mortgages. Check with your lender to find out your balance
  3. You have lost your job or experienced a reduction in income through no fault of your own, or are facing a temporary financial hardship such as a divorce, serious illness, or death of a co-signer and need to find new employment.
  4. You experienced your job loss or temporary financial hardship or were honorably discharged from the military after January 1, 2008.
  5. You have an acceptable mortgage payment history prior to your recent unemployment or income loss.
  6. you demonstrate an ability to resume your mortgage payment once assistance ends.
  7. You are a legal U.S. resident.

"They wanted to know what my payments were and where the rest of my money was going and what income I had,” Jackson said.

The program pays the mortgage company directly. If applicants keep their homes for 10 years, they do not have to repay the loan.

"I live in a town home, so my full mortgage was paid - all of my escrow funds and my HOA fees during the course of a year," Jackson said.

That helped ease the stress.

Before getting into the program, Jackson said she broke down in tears during a couple of job interviews because she “felt so much pressure to make sure that something came through." But the security of knowing she wouldn't lose her home helped her confidence.

Eventually, she landed another job and resumed making her mortgage payments on her own.

"Don't let pride get in the way,” she said. “Get the help and save your home and your family."

WRAL is {{a href="page-13902386"}}here to help with a Foreclosure Prevention Phone Bank{{a href="page-13902386"}} on Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. Counselors will be on hand to answer your questions.



7 Comments

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  • justabumer Aug 19, 2014

    View quoted thread



    I agree.

  • SingleLensReflex.SLR Aug 19, 2014

    re: "THEY must be in a temporary financial hardship, have a good payment history and be able to resume payments on YOUR own." = BAD GRAMMAR. C'mon WRAL ! And I'm glad if the process is difficult, by the way. There are too many cheats out there.

  • Wheelman Aug 19, 2014

    I think helping people is fine. However, the money should have to be paid back regardless of how long you own your home. Fine to make it interest free for three years, but then you should have to pay interest on the money until you pay it back either in installments or when you sell the home.

  • Carolyn Shomaker Aug 19, 2014
    user avatar

    The process to qualify is so exhaustive that I'd be willing to bet most people who start it never finish. It's very difficult to actually get this assistance - speaking from experience.

  • LocalYokel Aug 19, 2014

    I want free $36,000 but unfortunately I'm a responsible adult. Splurge your money, fail to plan, lack discipline, behave irresponsibly, and lack the self control to prevent crying during a job interview. No problemo, because your entitled to free money from an rich government.

    I empathize with people temporarily struck by hard times of no fault of their own and I want them to succeed but the loan applicants should be required to pass a financial skills and life training class or otherwise we'll have to give them more loans.

  • ptrrrk1 Aug 18, 2014

    Nice story

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Aug 18, 2014

    Don't need it but thanks, and prayers for those who do.