The list of foreclosures in The TIMES NEWS court news seems to grow every week.

All of the listings have a story behind them - many of them sad, about lost jobs and other financial hardships that left people without the resources to keep up with their mortgage payments.

Back in 2007 there were 302 foreclosures in Carbon County. By 2010, that number swelled to 421. So far this year, 166 foreclosures have been filed in the county.

Help may be on the horizon for those with financial difficulties. There's a program that may help them save their homes.

Officials last week announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has delegated $105 million for Pennsylvania families who are at least three months behind in their mortgage.

The program, known as Emergency Homeowners Loan Program, is being administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority (PHFA).

If you think you qualify for this help, don't delay in contacting PHFA to see if you can get a piece of the pie.

If you are more than three months behind in your mortgage payments or are in jeopardy of foreclosure call either the Schuylkill Community Action in Pottsville at (570) 622-1995 or American Credit Counseling Institute in Allentown at (888) 469-8847.

Here's how the program works: For those who qualify the program will pay the mortgage up to date, as well as pay any taxes, insurances and other fees that are included. For every year after the assistance, if the mortgage holder continues to keep his or her mortgage up to date, then 20 percent of the loan will be reduced from the overall bill. If homeowners keep up to date for five years, the loan will be disolved, and will be considered a grant for the homeowner. The balance won't have to be repaid. Even if the homeowner defaults, they must repay the loan, but with zero percent interest. So, it's a win-win situation for those in jeopardy of losing their homes.

For more information on the program, visit PHFA's website at www.PHFA.org. or call 1-(800) 342-2397.

But don't delay. Now that the program has been made public, it's expected a lot of homeowners will be applying for the help.

Bob Urban

rurban@tnonline.com