Struggling homeowners could now get up to $80,000 in stimulus aid

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Many homeowners have suffered a loss of income during the pandemic. And while some may have recovered from the events of the past two years, other homeowners may still struggle to keep up with their housing payments, especially in light of recent inflation.

At the start of the pandemic, homeowners were given the option of suspending their mortgage payments through a process known as forbearance. But that option expired after 18 months, meaning mortgage borrowers who took advantage of it early may have exhausted that relief months ago.

The good news, however, is that there is still relief for homeowners who are struggling to pay their housing expenses. And some homeowners could be eligible for assistance of up to $80,000.

Relief for those in need

While some protections like mortgage forbearance are largely exhausted at this stage of the game, there are still supports available to homeowners through the Homeowners Relief Fund. This fund has a good $10 billion to pay homeowners who are behind on their mortgages and other housing-related expenses.

As was the case with the Housing Assistance Funds, the money from the Homeowners Assistance Fund will be distributed at the state level. But eligible recipients will be in line for anywhere between $15,000 and $80,000. This money can cover expenses such as:

  • Mortgage payments
  • Property tax bills
  • Home insurance costs
  • HOA fees
  • Utilities
  • Certain home repairs

Who can benefit from housing assistance?

To qualify for assistance under the program, homeowners will need to demonstrate that they have experienced financial hardship related to the COVID-19 outbreak. They will also need to have a household income below 150% of their area’s median income or below $79,990, whichever is greater.

Applicants will not have to prove that they have ever fallen behind on their housing payments. This means that those who are at risk of missing a mortgage payment but have not yet done so may still qualify.

How to register

Since the program is run at the state level, the application process may vary from state to state. The National Council of State Housing Agencies has an interactive map where people seeking help can learn more about how to apply in their respective states.

Those requesting assistance should be aware that not all states have yet begun the application process. But anyone who needs help should feel free to start exploring their options right away. While $10 billion might seem like a pretty generous amount of money, those funds could run out quickly, just like some states have run out of rent assistance funds.

Any homeowner applying for housing assistance should contact their mortgage loan officer and discuss this fact. Some loan servicers may be willing to be flexible with homeowners who are struggling to make payments and have pending requests for assistance. In fact, it’s especially important for homeowners facing foreclosure to reach out to their loan servicers to potentially avoid this fate. Some loan servicers might put the brakes on foreclosure proceedings if they know help might be on the way.

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