State provides mortgage relief for underwater homeowners

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - According to a recent report, 7 percent of homes in Winnebago County are currently underwater with their mortgages. I-REFI isn't exactly new since the state of Illinois launched it in 2016 but, the results some stateline families are seeing from it, is.

The goal is to keep responsible homeowners in their homes by offering a forgivable loan of up to $50,000. Studies show that neighborhoods with higher levels of home ownership result in lower crime rates and stronger neighborhood relationships. One owner who received assistance from I-REFI says he was surprised how easy the process is.

"The thing that surprised me the most about it is that it rewarded people that stuck with their homes through the hard times and with the economy crashing. To me it felt like, it may me feel more proud I guess that I had been a responsible homeowner and this program really paid out," I-REFI recipient Scott Juliano.

In order to qualify for the program, homeowners must be current with their mortgage for the last twelve months have make less than $94,800 per year. There is no cost to apply.