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House payment assistance available

Unemployed county residents may get up to 12 months of full payments
If you're an unemployed homeowner, struggling to make monthly house payments, NeighborImpact wants to help.
   In fact, homeowners who are receiving unemployment benefits may be eligible for assistance for up to 12 monthly mortgage payments or a total of $20,000 -- whichever comes first.
   Selef Spragg, housing center manager for NeighborImpact, has been searching for Jefferson County residents who need assistance, but has found few takers.
   The program had 202 slots available in Jefferson County, but only 43 homeowners have taken advantage of the funding since it became available Feb. 8.
   "We've done extensive outreach," said Spragg, who has talked to people in the community and contacted the employment department, realtors, and lenders without much luck.
   "We really encourage folks to apply as soon as possible," he said. "July 25, all slots will go statewide."
   Spragg is not sure why so few people have applied in Jefferson County. "It may be that a lot of folks have already lost their homes," he said. "Crook County is in the same situation (221 slots available, 40 used). Deschutes County allocations go within minutes -- sometimes seconds."
   Funding for the program comes from Oregon Housing and Community Services' Homeownership Stabilization Initiative, according to Spragg, who hopes that county residents will use the funding to hang on to their homes during difficult economic times.
   Homeowners with some type of state identification can apply online at oregonhomeownerhelp.org, which lays out the qualifications for the program.
   NeighborImpact, a nonprofit organization that works to improve lives in Central Oregon, also has opportunities for home buyers.
   "We can help them with budgeting, planning and finding a home that meets their needs and works within their budget," commented Linda Quon, a consultant for NeighborImpact.
   For more information, contact a NeighborImpact housing technician at 541-318-7506, ext. 308.