Homeowners facing foreclosure get boost

The Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center will receive a grant of more than $1.5 million to assist the estimated 2,200 Kentuckians who are in danger of losing their homes through foreclosure.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Mayor Jim Newberry announced the grant from NeighborWorks America during a news conference in Lexington.

The money will be used for legal services, training and staffing for more than 40 agencies that work with the Homeownership Protection Center, and for default counseling and legal services for homeowners needing help to avoid losing their homes.

Counseling is provided free of charge by a statewide network of agencies, including the United Way, said Richard McQuady, chief executive of the Kentucky Housing Corp., which oversees the Homeownership Protection Center.

McQuady urged homeowners to contact the center as soon as they know they have a problem repaying the mortgage. The earlier they get help, the more options they have, he said.

Beshear said the center, established under a bill passed by the 2008 General Assembly, already has helped some 2,000 homeowners cut through "red tape" to resolve their problems.

The "housing bubble burst" contributed to the current recession, Beshear said. The grant will allow the center and its partners to help the state recover from the crisis one homeowner at a time.