Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taking steps to help borrowers facing foreclosure remain in their homes for the holidays.

Fannie said Monday that from Dec. 19 through Jan. 2 it will halt evictions from single-family homes and two- to four-unit properties that have been foreclosed on, although foreclosure proceedings may continue. Freddie will honor a moratorium from Dec. 17 to Jan. 2.

"We're taking this step in support of families who have faced financial challenges and gone through a foreclosure," Terry Edwards, Fannie's Mae's executive vice president of credit portfolio management, said in a news release. "The holidays are a chance to be with loved ones and we want to relieve some stress at this time of year."

"We encourage homeowners having difficulty to reach out for help as soon as possible," Edwards added.

Fannie is urging borrowers who fall behind on their mortgage payments to visit knowyouroptions.com, a website with information that can help borrowers hold onto their homes.

The hiatus follows a suspension of foreclosure sales and evictions by both Fannie and Freddie that runs through February in areas designated for assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

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