States are preparing to distribute nearly $ 10 billion in aid to homeowners hard hit during the pandemic. How can struggling homeowners line up for the money?
The Homeowner Assistance Fund, created by the recent COVID-19 relief package, provides allocations to states, territories and tribes with the aim of avoiding mortgage loans, foreclosures, utility shutdowns and other problems for vulnerable homeowners.
To qualify, after January 21, 2020, homeowners must have lower income and experience financial hardships such as job loss or high healthcare expenses. The aid is not limited to mortgage borrowers: homeowners needing help with criminal property taxes, homeowners association fees, internet service, and other costs may be eligible.
While states are still drafting their HAF programs and it may take several months to start distributing the aid, homeowners can now position themselves as part of the action, proponents of housing construction say.
Mortgage borrowers who are in trouble and have not spoken to their loan service providers should make this call now. Find out if you qualify for an indulgence that temporarily suspends your payments, a loan modification that may decrease your monthly payment, or other options. "If you have already reached out to your servicer, you are in a better position to access government money," evaluating what options you have now and what additional help you may need, said Julia Gordon, president of the national community Stabilization Trust, a non-profit organization that works to protect neighborhoods from disease.
Borrowers and servicers must now also focus on long-term solutions to avoid “chaos” in the fall, when a wave of forbearance borrowers emerges, says Diane Thompson, a senior advisor with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
When communicating with your service technician, document “everything,” says David Dworkin, CEO of the National Housing Conference. "And keep these records."
According to Dworkin, create a file that contains all the clues about the impact the pandemic has on your financial situation, such as: B. Dismissal statements, unemployment insurance income and documentation of your income prior to COVID.
For additional assistance, contact a US Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counseling agency. These agencies will assist homeowners who are eligible for the HAF program. The CFPB provides a tool to help you find an advisor in your area.