SALT LAKE CITY — Utah homeowners facing foreclosure may have a lifeline available to them if they act fast.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is accepting applications for the new Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program that could provide up to $50,000 to property owners who are past due on their mortgage payments.

Under program guidelines, the loan may be used to avoid foreclosure.

"This program is designed to help homeowners who have had a decrease in income," said Will VanderToolen, director of counseling services for AAA Fair Credit Foundation. "To qualify, you have to have had at least a 15 percent decrease in income since 2009."

The Salt Lake City-based nonprofit financial and housing counseling agency is the only HUD approved agency in Utah that is administering the program. The agency provides free foreclosure intervention services to all households, even those that don't qualify for EHLP.

The deadline for submitting a pre-application is Friday.

VanderToolen said borrowers must be at least 90 days past due on the mortgage of their primary residence, not a second or investment home. Or they must have received a 60-day notice of default with a foreclosure notice to follow at the 90-day delinquency mark, he added.

"This is a limited program, and we want everyone (who is eligible) to apply," he said. Those who apply and qualify will have their names put into a lottery to determine which homeowners will receive EHLP funding.

Those property owners who are chosen will be notified in the next few weeks, he said.

Visit www.faircredit.org/contact.asp for more information or call 800-351-4195.

Email: jlee@desnews.com