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HUD mortgage assistance on way to Calif.

March 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
During his town hall appearance Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that California will receive $145 million to help communities hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. Friday, local leaders held a news conference.The president's plan includes mortgage loan assistance to middle- and low-income families facing foreclosure. A recurring question: Will the money arrive in time to help thousands of Southern California families save their homes?

"Today California will be receiving $145 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide additional help to communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis," said President Obama Thursday.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will distribute part of the money to be used to buy vacant properties, refurbish them and sell them at an affordable price and mortgage.

"I don't want to lose my home," said Mauricio Alas, whose home is in foreclosure.

Alas is like thousands of Southern Californians who bought their homes when the economy was strong, and now face losing them. Alas tells me he bought his property in 2004 when he had a good paying job. He was laid off last year and fell behind on his mortgage payments. He said he's been trying to work with the lender, Aurora Loan Services, to work something out. Nothing yet, he says. He's hoping the HUD program will help him keep his home.

"I pay my house good," said Alas. "Then I lose my job, so it is very difficult to pay right now. I work at one hospital right now and a housekeeper and it's not easy because it's part-time right now."

Aurora Loan Services released a statement: "[Aurora is] making every effort to work with homeowners who are eligible to participate in President Obama's Making Home Affordable Plan."

A number of community groups held a news conference in front of Alas's home to ask for a moratorium on foreclosures until the HUD money comes to California.

"These people who are in the middle of -- not of poverty, but are working families, they are doing their best to continue with the housing," said Gloria Saucedo, Hermandad Mexicana.

According to HUD, the plan is to issue application requirements no later than May 3.


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