Under the Hope for Homeowners act of 2008, eligible homeowners having trouble paying their mortgages may be able to get a new loan at a significant discount from their current unaffordable loan. Lender participation in the program is voluntary, but is designed to help both the homeowners and the banks avoid foreclosure. To be eligible for this program, homeowners must have a current mortgage debt to income ratio greater than 31 percent. The new loan will either be for 90 percent of the value of the home or an even lesser amount if the family meets certain eligibility criteria. In return for the new discounted loan, part of the newly created equity in the home as well as part of the future appreciation in value must be shared with the federal government. For more information about the Hope for Homeowners Act or other federal mortgage assistance programs, contact an attorney in your area today.