Many homeowners have experienced income loss in the course of the pandemic. And while some may have recovered from the events of the past two years, other homeowners might still be struggling to keep up with their housing payments, especially in light of recent inflation.
Early on in the pandemic, homeowners were given the option to hit pause on their mortgage payments via a process known as forbearance. But that option expired after 18 months, which means mortgage borrowers who took advantage of it early may have exhausted that relief months ago.
The good news, though, is that there's still relief available for homeowners who are struggling to pay their housing expenses. And some homeowners could be eligible for as much as $80,000 in aid.
Relief for those in need
While certain protections like mortgage forbearance have largely run out at this stage of the game, there's still some aid available for property owners thanks to the Homeowner Assistance Fund. That fund has a good $10 billion available to pay to homeowners who are behind on their mortgages and other housing-related expenses.
As was the case with rental assistance funds, money from the Homeowner Assistance Fund will be given out at the state level. But eligible recipients will be in line for anywhere from $15,000 to $80,000. That money can cover expenses including:
- Mortgage payments
- Property tax bills
- Homeowners insurance fees
- HOA fees
- Certain home repairs
Who's eligible for housing aid?
To qualify for aid under the program, homeowners will need to show they experienced a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 outbreak. They'll also need to have a household income that's below 150% of their area's median income or below $79,990 -- whichever is higher.
Applicants will not have to show proof that they've fallen behind on their housing payments already. This means that those who are at risk of missing a mortgage payment but haven't actually done so yet can still qualify.
How to apply
Since the program is being run at the state level, the application process can vary from state to state. The National Council of State Housing Agencies has an interactive map where those looking for aid can learn more about how to apply in their respective states.
Those seeking aid should be aware that not every state has started the application process yet. But anyone in need of assistance shouldn't hesitate to start exploring their options immediately. While $10 billion might seem like a pretty generous pool of money, those funds could run out quickly, just as some states have exhausted their rental assistance funds.
Any homeowner who's applying for housing aid should contact their mortgage loan servicer and discuss that fact. Some loan servicers may be willing to be flexible with homeowners who are having a hard time making their payments and have pending applications for aid. In fact, it's especially important for homeowners facing foreclosure to loop in their loan servicers to potentially avoid that fate. Some loan servicers might put the brakes on foreclosure proceedings if they know aid could be on the way.
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