COLUMBUS, Ga. – Over 1,000 homeowners in Muscogee County are overdue on their mortgage payments.
In June alone, there were 186 foreclosures.
Those local numbers are higher than the state’s average.
There’s good news, though, on how you can avoid foreclosure thanks to a state-wide program.
HomeSafe Georgia is a free government program that helps people who are unemployed, or under-employed, make their payments and avoid foreclosure.
So far, the program has helped 7,000 people across the state and 70 people right here in Muscogee County.
One Columbus homeowner, Lawanda Martin, has utilized this program and was able to stay in her home.
Martin never imagined she’d lose her job as a contractor for the military. She also never imagined she’d be close to foreclosure because of it.
“It’s just like marrying and giving birth to a child,” Martin said. “It’s your dream, it’s something that you look forward coming out from renting, from an apartment or something like that, that you have a piece of the American pie.”
Martin said the HomeSafe Georgia program was her lifeline. She was able to save money while HomeSafe Georgia covered her mortgage payments for a few months.
“This program was funded really to address the housing crisis that we were experiencing here in Georgia,” said Carmen Chubb, the Deputy Commissioner of Housing at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.”The unemployment rate was higher than the national average for twelve consecutive months.”
Basically, a pot of money exists to help folks for this purpose, but it won’t last forever.
“So the funds are available right now to help homeowners who are experiencing these hardships to help them keep their homes, but it is temporary program and will end at the end of 2017,” Chubb said.
WRBL took a look at the numbers and the zip code with the most foreclosures in June 2015 was the 31907 zip code, with 80 foreclosures, followed by the 31909 zip code with 30 foreclosures.
The program is meant only for homeowners, not those who rent.
To see if you qualify for assistance, you’re asked to take a pre-qualification quiz online.
Click here for that website.