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$600 million in housing aid on the way for 5 more states

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Five more states will receive federal funding to help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure, the Obama administration announced Monday.

Last month, President Obama unveiled the Hardest Hit Fund, which pumped $1.5 billion into state housing agencies in California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Michigan. These five were originally identified because they had been hardest hit by the housing bust, with prices declining more than 20%.

Now, an additional $600 million is being doled out to the five states that have the largest number of counties suffering unemployment rates above 12%: North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

"The goal for our second set of awards was to identify states suffering from high shares of populations living in concentrated areas of economic distress," said Alan Krueger, Treasury assistant secretary.

Although these five states are receiving less funding than their predecessors, Krueger said the amounts are equal on a per-person basis.

Because Ohio has the largest proportion of its population living in high-unemployment counties, it will receive the largest share of the funds, totaling $172 million. North Carolina is on tap to receive $159 million; South Carolina will secure $138 million; Oregon is due to receive $88 million; and Rhode Island will get $43 million.

The program, which is funded with money from the TARP bank bailout, allows each of the states' agencies to propose foreclosure solutions that address local conditions. States that received funds during the first round are due to present proposals on April 16.

The Treasury suggests states offer assistance through innovative initiatives, including unemployment programs and mortgage modifications. As a result, some states are looking at a program in Pennsylvania that offers low-interest bridge loans to the unemployed so that they can pay their mortgages. To top of page

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