COLUMBIA — The federal government will now allow underemployed and self-employed individuals who are facing foreclosure to tap into a program designed to help them keep their homes.

South Carolina received more than $295 million from U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund for foreclosure prevention. The state received the cash because the unemployment rate is among the highest in the country at 11.1 percent.

The program, SC HELP, had previously only been available to homeowners who were unemployed, according to Matt Rivers, Director of the SC HELP program.

“Rising unemployment numbers mean one thing – more people are losing jobs and are in danger of falling behind on their mortgage payments,” Rivers said in a statement. “SC HELP may provide a bridge to help people across a temporary gap in employment or income and allow them to stay in their home.”

To register, go to www.scmortgagehelp.com or call 1-855-435-7472.

Read more in Tuesday’s editions of The Post and Courier.