Homeowners Assistance Fund: Another Stimulus Payment for Homeowners
Are you a homeowner struggling to pay your bills? If so, the Biden administration might have a lifeline for you.
The American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s signature COVID-19 recovery bill, was passed in March. The bill, altogether nearly two hundred and fifty pages long, laid out funding requests for many different government COVID relief programs. One of those programs, the Homeowners Assistance Fund, was specifically targeted towards imperiled homeowners in need of temporary low-interest loans and other relief.
How It Works
The March 2021 package set aside $10 billion specifically for homeowners’ relief. This means that homeowners who are having trouble paying basic bills can request emergency funds from the government. These funds can be used towards any home-related expenses, including paying the mortgage, property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, utility bills, and other related fees.
Interestingly, the federal government has opted to deliver this relief package through state agencies. This means that, rather than working from Washington and drawing from one unified budget, each state has a lesser budget and mission scope to deal with claims specifically made in that state.
And the amount of aid available per state varies wildly. While the Treasury Department has said that each state will receive at least $50 million, amounts above this are vastly different between states; California and New York, as could be expected, will rake in far more than Oklahoma or Wyoming. Non-states and U.S. territories, including Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam also qualify for these benefits.
To clarify the status of your state’s benefits, or for additional information, you can contact your state’s housing agency.
The first caveat is that the funds must be completely used by September 30, 2025. Considering the high number of struggling homeowners, however, this can probably be accomplished with little difficulty.
The second caveat is that not everyone qualifies for mortgage relief. To qualify, you must own your own home, continue to pay your mortgage regularly, and have a balance of less than $550,000. If you meet all of these criteria, you are encouraged to apply for funds through your state agency.
The final caveat specifies that 60% of the aid must be provided to people who make either less than the national median income, or less than their local area’s median income. You can use whichever number is higher, fortunately.
Trevor Filseth is a news reporter and writer for the National Interest.