State program helps Muscogee homeowners maintain mortgages

State program helps Muscogee homeowners maintain mortgages

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Foreclosure rates in Muscogee County are higher than other counties across the state of Georgia.

A free federally funded program in the state gives homeowners some relief so they can keep their homes, and they want more people to take advantage of the program.

It's good news for homeowners in Muscogee County, especially Lawanda Martin.

Her home has been the gathering place for many special occasions.

"Get togethers, thanksgiving, Christmas in this home, this is the heart of it all right here," said Martin.

Because of the program HomeSafe Georgia, Martin is able to continue welcoming people inside her home. She almost lost her place of 10 years.

"I didn't have any resources or income coming in my home at all," said Martin.

Martin was doing contracting work in the Middle East. When she returned home, for about a year, she couldn't find steady work. She got behind on her mortgage payments.

Martin then turned to HomeSafe Georgia for help.

"For people who are unemployed or under-employed we actually make their payment to their mortgage service for up to 24 months ...caught up on their mortgage or lower their payments permanently," said Carmen Chubb, Deputy Commissioner

The program is free to those who qualify. Needing foreclosure prevention and to maintain mortgage payments.

"It's an excellent program and it's state funded," said Martin.

Foreclosure rates and delinquent payments in Muscogee County are higher than other counties in the state. Here's some data for Muscogee County.

Percentage of Homes 90+ Days Delinquent (March 2015)
Muscogee County: 4.93%
Georgia: 3.65%

Foreclosure Rate (March 2015)
Muscogee County: 0.93%
Georgia: 0.78%

Chubb explains, "We have helped 70 people here and over 7,000 statewide."

The program has paid Martin's mortgage for up to 24 months, and she's now working three jobs.

"Don't give up, don't lose hope that you're about to lose your home. I'm a living witness that it's resources out here," said Martin.

The program is funded through the U.S. Treasury. The program runs through 2017.

The program also provides assistance to those in need of mortgage help who have suffered a military, medical or death-related hardship in the last 36 months.

Visit HomeSafe Georgia to find out if you qualify.

Copyright 2015 WTVM. All rights reserved.