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Online Applications For Underwater Mortgage Help To Begin Wednesday

Tomorrow, Florida will begin accepting applications from homeowners who are in a financial bind because they owe substantially more for their houses than the properties are worth.

The Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Principal Reduction Program, run by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, has $350 million to distribute to state residents who are paying mortgages that are at least 125 percent above their homes’ value.

71-year-old Bernard Salzberg says he’ll probably fill out an application. Salzberg says he has a $226,000 on his house in St. Augustine that last appraised for around $180,000.

“My wife and I are eager to do something different with our lives which would require either selling the house or perhaps renting it," he said. 

"We’ve been very conscientious our whole lives about paying all our debts. We don’t want to not be responsible on this one, nor do we want to keep paying for something which is worth so much less than what we bought it for."

If Salzberg is eligible, he could receive as much as $50,000 to pay down the principal on his mortgage.

The state will start taking online applications at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. However, officials say, they will only accept 25,000 forms initially.

At least 200,000 Florida homeowners are considered severely underwater on their mortgages.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.