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AZ Depart. of Housing is trying to spend $269 million in federal foreclosure-prevention funds by offering homeowners $4,500 & to pay their 3% closing costs to work with their lender & complete a short sale instead of losing their home to foreclosure.  Housing Director Michael Trailor said the state agency will start taking applications for the short-sale program today. Go to to apply. It's the same site that is taking applications for the principal-reduction loan-modification program and unemployment mortgage aid, both of which also are being funded by federal money from the Hardest Hit Housing program.

As many as 30,000 homeowners could be eligible for these funds, but you have to take the first step and contact them to get started.