Foreclosure Assistance Ads Unveiled

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Federal officials are launching a new ad campaign to raise awareness of the assistance that may be available to financially stressed homeowners through the Making Home Affordable Program (MHA).

The Treasury Department and HUD, with the assistance of the private, nonprofit Ad Council, are targeting the approximately one in 14 U.S. homeowners who are currently behind on their mortgage payments. The ad campaign seeks to let those homeowners know they can obtain free assistance in avoiding foreclosure through MHA.

"While communities across the country are beginning to recover from an unprecedented housing crisis, too many families are still struggling with their mortgage payments and are unsure of where to turn for help," said Mary Miller, Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance. "Millions of homeowners have gotten help to avoid foreclosure since 2009. We want to make sure struggling homeowners know today that there are free government resources available to help homeowners avoid foreclosure."

Eligibility expanded

Homeowners who have heard about MHA may not be aware that the eligibility guidelines for the program have been expanded during the past year. Now, owners of rental properties who are having trouble paying those mortgages may be eligible for a loan modification under the program, as well as homeowners who are facing upcoming financial challenges. MHA has also been extended through December 2013.

MHA has two major components, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that helps at-risk homeowners obtain loan modifications, and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) that helps low-equity and underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages at lower rates. HAMP is the one that is primarily designed for homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

Contact information given

Research by the Ad Council found that homeowners in financial difficulty often put off seeking help with their mortgage issues because they're not sure where to turn or are not sure what types of assistance are trustworthy. The new ad campaign, which will run print, radio, outdoor and web public service announcements (PSAs), will direct homeowners to either call 888-995-HOPE (4673) to speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor or visit the program's web site,

"We know that there are still millions of families across the nation facing the threat of home foreclosure," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "We hope to be able to reach these Americans with a message of hope and inspire them to get the help they need."

The PSAs are being made available ahead of the month of January, which has historically been a time when many families are burdened with bills and are at increased risk of foreclosure.

The new ads are actually the third and final phase of an outreach campaign that was launched in 2010. All PSAs are run in times or spaces donated by media organizations, per the Ad Council model.

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