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FLORIDIANS WHO ARE BATTLING FORECLOSURE GOT SOME GOOD NEWS TUESDAY AS THE STATE ANNOUNCED THAT MORE THAN A BILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL STIMULUS GRANTS WILL BECOME AVAILABLE TO RESIDENTS THIS MONTH.  ACCORDING TO THE SUN, THE FLORIDA HARDEST-HIT FUND WILL PROVIDE MORTGAGE PAYMENT ASSISTANCE TO HOMEOWNERS WITH HOPES OF KEEPING DELINQUENT BORROWERS IN THEIR HOMES AND PUTTING OFF SOME FORECLOSURES THAT HAVE BEEN FLOODING THE MARKET SINCE ITS HISTORIC CRASH.  THE PROGRAM, WHICH WAS APPROVED BY THE U S TREASURY AFTER A FIVE-MONTH PILOT PROGRAM IN LEE COUNTY WILL BE AVAILABLE BEGINNING APRIL 18TH.  THE FUND WILL PROVIDE FIVE-YEAR INTEREST-FREE LOANS TO FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS AND NO LONGER CAN MAKE THEIR MONTHLY PAYMENTS FOR THE MORTGAGE.  THE PAYMENTS CAP AT SIX MONTHS OR $12,000, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.  THE LOAN CAN ALSO BE USED AS A $6000 LUMP SUM TO BRING A PAST-DUE MORTGAGE CURRENT.  TO QUALIFY, TOTAL HOUSEHOLD EARNINGS MUST REMAIN BELOW 140 PERCENT OF THE AREA’S MEDIAN INCOME.