If you are a homeowner and COVID-19 has made it difficult for you to pay your mortgage, utilities, property taxes, or other home expenses, financial assistance may already be available for you. The Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) was established by the American Rescue Plan Act to help homeowners financially impacted by COVID-19 with housing-related costs. This federal assistance program provides money to states, Tribes, territories, and the District of Columbia to assist homeowners with housing-related costs.
HAF can provide financial assistance for mortgage payments (including past due payments), and, depending on the program, may also be used for homeowners insurance, utility bills, property taxes, homeowners association fees, certain home repairs, and other specified housing costs. The amount of funds available per household will depend on your situation and where you live. Some locations have started accepting applications, and more are on the way. In total, approximately $10 billion will be disbursed to programs across the country.
How to apply for Homeowner Assistance Fund relief
The HAF program available to you will depend on your area. Each state or territory developed its own program. Programs were also developed by Tribes (or their Tribally Designated Housing Entity), the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and the District of Columbia. You’ll need to verify that you meet income requirements and may need to provide required documentation. You must confirm that you have experienced a financial hardship after January 21, 2020 and describe the nature of that hardship, such as a job loss, reduced income, or increased healthcare costs.
If the program in your area is up and running, you may start your application process. Funds are limited. Some programs may not have enough funds for every applicant, so it is important to apply as soon as you’re able. If you’re applying for funding for mortgage payments, it’s a good idea to call your mortgage servicer to discuss the process and verify that your mortgage servicer has chosen to participate in the program. If you want help understanding your program or need help with your application, contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.
If the program in your area is not yet available, you can check the program’s website which may allow you to sign up for timing updates and alerts.
Beware of Homeowner Assistance Fund scams
Scammers often target homeowners in need of assistance, using common tactics like requiring you to pay an upfront fee or charging you to apply for a relief program. Remember that HUD-approved housing counseling agencies offer free help to avoid foreclosure. Learn more about avoiding scams.
Submit a complaint with the CFPB
If you’re approved for HAF funds but are having difficulty with your mortgage servicer accepting the payment, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB. We’ll forward it to the company and work to get a response, generally within 15 days.