MOUNT VERNON — Knox County families hit hard by recent unemployment may find relief in paying past-due mortgage payments.
Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland is offering the Mortgage Assistance Program to help those who have become unemployed or underemployed since January 2008. Underemployment is categorized by accepting employment that falls short of the pay scale previously received at a job with a higher rate of pay.
“We developed this program to reach out to those who may have never needed assistance before but find themselves in a situation, through no fault of their own, of needing help,” said Pam Wright, community service administrator for Kno-Ho-Co Ashland.
Homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage will benefit from the acquisition of stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via the Ohio Department of Development’s Community Services Block Grant.
“You have to be past due at least one month,” Wright said. “Kno-Ho-Co Ashland will provide assistance of three months past due up to a maximum benefit of $1,000.”
Current household income must be at, or below, 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. According to Wright, income will be calculated based on annual income or the past 13 weeks, whichever best benefits the applicant.
Current income guidelines to qualify for the mortgage assistance program are:
•A family of one, annual income $21,660; past 13 weeks, $5,415.
•A family of two, annual income $29,140; past 13 weeks, $7,285.
•A family of three, annual income $36,620; past 13 weeks, $9,155.
•A family of four, annual income $44,100; past 13 weeks, $11,025.
•A family of five, annual income $51,580; past 13 weeks, $12,895.
•A family of six, annual income $59,060; past 13 weeks, $14,765.
•A family of seven, annual income $66,540; past 13 weeks, $16,635.
•A family of eight, annual income $74,020; past 13 weeks, $18,505.
In addition to meeting income guidelines, those seeking assistance will be asked to work directly with their mortgage holder to postpone any foreclosure processes for at least 30 days. That agreement is a necessary component to the application process. It is hoped this delay will help struggling homeowners find a permanent solution to their mortgage problems.
“By helping families bring their mortgages up to date, they are in a better position to renegotiate their mortgage to a lower interest rate or longer term and reduce their payments so they are more affordable,” Wright said. “It also buys them time to continue to seek employment so they can remain in their homes.”
Knox County residents may call 397-0378 to set up an appointment to apply for the program. Agency hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.