PINEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Ninety laid off coal miners in Bell and Whitley Counties are getting help with mortgage payments through a state program called the Unemployment Bridge Program, and officials say they can help many more people.
Coal-hauler Michael Miracle was laid off last May. The loss of income put him in danger of losing his home.
"My life's work is in that home," Miracle said.
Through the Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency, he applied for the Unemployment Bridge Program, a state program that helps laid off workers make mortgage payments.
"It really helped me and was very much needed. It really took a low-bearing weight off my shoulders," Miracle said.
Officials say the program offered through the Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center helps people who were laid off or had work hours reduced through no fault of their own and demonstrates a need for assistance.
"We can pay their mortgage if they can bring in the paperwork. A lot of people don't know their eligible because there is not an income guideline, so if the spouse works, that doesn't make you ineligible," said Anna Brock, Housing Counselor at the Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency.
The program can help with mortgage payments for 18 months or $30,000, whichever comes first.
"No, you don't have to be late on your mortgage. A lot of people thought you had to be late on your payment, but you do not have to be late," Brock said.
Officials say to sign-up to see if you qualify, all you have to do is fill out the paperwork.
Miracle recommends it to others who were laid-off in the past year.
"If it weren't for this program right here, I would've ended up losing my home," he said.
To apply for the program, you can visit the Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency office in Pineville or you can call toll free (866) 830-7868.