TRENTON - New Jersey has been awarded $112 million in federal funding to help struggling homeowners facing foreclosure.

The award was announced by Gov. Chris Christie's administration yesterday.

Starting next year, unemployed and underemployed homeowners can apply for help through the New Jersey Home Keeper program.

The program will provide a zero percent interest rate and deferred-payment mortgage loans to homeowners in danger of losing their homes through no fault of their own.

Loans will be capped at $48,000 per household. The average assistance loan is expected to be $38,000, according to state officials.

The program also allows time for troubled homeowners to seek re-employment or complete job training programs, and will help with mortgage back-payments accrued due to lost employment income.

Christie's office says the program will help an estimated 2,500 to 4,000 households.