The U.S. Treasury Department has approved North Carolina's plan to use $159 million in federal funds to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
The state will begin dispersing the money in December. The money is going to the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, whose mission is to provide affordable housing options to residents.
“We expect that over the next three years this effort will enable 7,200 North Carolina workers to keep their homes,” said A. Robert Kucab, executive director of the housing finance agency, in a statement. “It will also help stabilize property values in their neighborhoods by reducing the number of foreclosure sales."
North Carolina is one of five states that is receiving portions of a $600 million federal aid package designed to prevent foreclosures. The other states are Ohio, South Carolina, Oregon and Rhode Island.
The sizes of the allocations were based on the number of people living in counties where the unemployment rate is above 12 percent.
When the program was announced earlier this year, North Carolina's overall unemployment rate was 11.2 percent in February, and more than half the state's 100 counties register rates above 12 percent.
Only Ohio received a larger allocation than North Carolina.
The N.C. Housing Finance Agency will continue running several state-funded foreclosure prevention projects. One provides loan payments to people while they look for a job or are retrained.
Another program, which received $6.5 million in federal grant money, counsels homeowners who are in danger of losing their houses.