Most of the forbearance options for struggling homeowners that were available during the epidemic have expired, but a fund of money set aside by Congress remains accessible for individuals who require assistance.
The Homeowner Assistance Fund, which is administered by the United States Department of the Treasury, is a nearly $10 billion federal program established to provide assistance to families who have fallen behind on their mortgages and other housing-related expenses as a result of the financial fallout from the public health crisis.
According to Stockton Williams, executive director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies, while many homeowners are on their road to financial recovery from the worst days of the epidemic, there is still a great need for assistance.
In his statement, Williams stated that “data suggest that certain homeowners… are still enduring financial and economic hardship, particularly those with low incomes and homeowners of color.”
Given the increased focus being paid to other government actions, such as additional unemployment benefits and rental help, many homeowners may be unaware of the support that is available to them, according to industry experts.
Here’s all you need to know about the program.
Who Is Eligible to Participate?
It is managed by the states, and eligibility standards vary. In general, you must have had a Covid-19-related hardship and have a household income that is less than 150 percent of your area’s median income, or $79,990 if that is greater, in order to qualify.
Furthermore, you may only apply for the relief if you are claiming your principal house as your residence.
According to Williams, most state programs do not need participants to be delinquent in order to be eligible.
To qualify for help or for other housing bills, such as utilities or property taxes, borrowers do not always need to have a home loan that is currently in arrears, according to the expert.
What Is the Procedure for Applying?
A map provided by the National Council of State Housing Agencies can be used to determine where you can submit an application in your particular state. State-run initiatives are still in the process of being implemented in some areas.
Twenty-four states, Puerto Rico, and Guam had already done so as of the beginning of March, and the Treasury Department had authorized virtually all of the programs by then.
As of June, “we anticipate that practically all programs will be operational,” Williams added.
What Kind of Expenditures Does the Assistance Cover?
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, qualified costs might include mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, association fees, utilities, and some home repairs, depending on your state.
What Is the Maximum Amount of Assistance I Could Receive?
According to the National Council of State Housing Agencies, states have the authority to choose the maximum amount of relief a homeowner can get, however, the threshold often varies between $15,000 and $80,000.
Is There Going to Be Enough Food for Everyone?
Unfortunately, this is most likely not the case. New York has already halted the acceptance of new applications.
According to one study, the whole Homeowners Assistance Fund, which is estimated to be worth roughly $10 billion, is only capable of covering around a third of the increase in past-due mortgage payments caused by the epidemic.
What Happens if I Don’t Receive the Funds?
First and foremost, if you’re waiting for a response from the Homeowner Assistance Fund, you should contact your mortgage servicer and inform them of your situation, especially if you’re facing foreclosure, according to experts.
All homeowners who are experiencing financial difficulties are recommended to seek assistance from a housing counselor who has been approved by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.