By Tony Aiello

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A federal program that started with high hopes is ending with dreams dashed for thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure.

It has been a drawer full of disappointment for desperate homeowners facing foreclosure. Housing advocate Valerie Durandisse said it is a sad end to a federal program called “EHLP.”

The program promised a billion dollars in no-interest loans for up to 30,000 homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed and at least 90 days behind in their mortgage.

“People are truly disappointed and don’t know what their next plan will be,” Durandisse told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

EHLP ends this week with at least half the money unspent, and most of the applicants rejected.

Brooklyn Housing helped process more than 400 applications for the EHLP program. So far, only one homeowner is actually getting a loan.

Another agency, Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, took a thousand applications for the program. Only 75 were approved.

So what happened? Some say the politicians passed a program with too many restrictive qualifications. Other say federal housing officials botched the implementation.

“We see people that we really want to help, and this program is not letting us do that,” Durandisse said.

Still, even on Thursday — the last day to apply – the agency was flooded. Esther Braithwaite Johnson is fighting foreclosure on her modest home in Crown Heights.

“The banks is not working with me,” she said. “If you don’t pay that money by when, your house is gone and I’m just beat. Don’t know where to turn no more.”

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