West Palm Beach groups help homeowners save their home if lost wages or layoffs are a factor

Some households may qualify for up to $42,000

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you're having trouble with your home loans and mortgage, you can get free help this Saturday from a certified housing counselor. You'll have access to a one on one counseling session. There will also be attorneys on hand to give free advice about foreclosures and fair housing issues.

The counselor can help identify programs that you may qualify for due to lost income from a layoff, reduction in hours or salary for self-employed individuals, or an economic loss of business. In these cases, the homeowner often doesn't qualify for a traditional loan modification. That doesn't mean there isn't help.

At the Saturday event, the counselors will let you know about the assistance that can help you in your situation. The Florida Hardest Hit Fund often assists if there's an income loss. If this sounds like your situation, the certified counselors may be able to help you get money to bring your mortgage current, reduce the amount of the delinquency, make payments for up to a year or get you a special forbearance to keep the mortgage from getting farther behind.

You may also qualify for money from the National Foreclosure Settlement. Millions of dollars from the settlement is being used to speed up the foreclosure process in Florida. That's why it's important to get help, because time may be running out.

"Most homeowners in distress are aware that they can try to get a loan modification, but many are unemployed, lost second jobs, had their hours cut or have seen their own businesses fall on difficult times. They may not make enough money to modify right now and they need a lifeline," said Kevin Maher of Credit Card Management Services, Inc. also known as DebtHelper . "There are free programs that may be able to give them that lifeline to help them stay in their homes until they can get their income back up to where they can either start paying their mortgages again or at least have a shot at getting that modification."

Assistance is free through various programs. You should never pay for the service.

The HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies at Saturday's event will be DebtHelper, The Urban League of Palm Beach County, and Consumer Credit Management Services. The event will take place Saturday, August 3, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church (390 Sequoia Dr., West Palm Beach, FL).

If you are attending the event, bring the following documents: recent letters from your mortgage company, your last mortgage statement, last 2 month's pay stubs, bank statements for last 2 months, recent income tax return, recent W-2 forms or a profit and loss statement from your business if you are self-employed, hardship letter explaining why your mortgage payments are delinquent or gap in employment, and a list of your household expenses.

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