Summary Box: Gov’t aids unemployed homeowners

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NEW GRACE PERIOD: The Federal Housing Administration said Thursday it will extend the period for unemployed homeowners to miss mortgage payments to a full year from three or four months.

SELECT FEW: The extended grace period only applies to FHA-backed loans and homeowners in the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program. The change will likely only help “tens of thousands” of homeowners.

HOPE FOR GREATER REACH: Government officials hope private lenders and mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which back 90 percent of all new mortgages, will adopt a similar policy.