While it is unclear whether Americans will receive a fourth round of stimulus payments from the federal government, homeowners across the country may now be eligible for additional financial assistance through the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).
According to the Treasury Department, the purpose of HAF is to “prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020.” HAF funds can be used to help pay for mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility bills, and other expenses.
“The law prioritizes funds for homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships,” the Treasury explained on its website.
While HAF funds are not the same as the three stimulus checks issued by the US since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were included in President Joe Biden’s massive stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan. According to the Treasury, nearly $10 billion has been set aside for the fund.
The amount of money allocated to each participant varies, but each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico each received a minimum of $50 million. Tribes or tribally designated housing entities and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands received $498 million, while Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands received $30 million.
Aid from the Homeowner Assistance Fund is now available.
While it is unclear whether Americans will receive a fourth round of stimulus payments, homeowners in the United States may be eligible for additional financial assistance now through the Homeowner Assistance Fund. On March 5, 2021, Joe Biden takes notes during a meeting with Americans who would benefit from COVID-19 pandemic relief checks as part of the American Rescue Plan in Washington, D.C.
The Treasury initially released 10% of the funds allocated to each state or territory in 2021 to implement pilot programs, but the department then required the states to submit implementation plans for review before releasing the remaining funds.
The exact amount of funds allocated to each participant, as well as their implementation plans and feedback, can be found on the Treasury website’s “HAF Plans” page.
The majority of states currently have open HAF programs, and only seven have provided preliminary information. Those states that only have preliminary information—Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Utah—are not currently accepting applications for assistance, but Americans in those states who are interested in HAF assistance are encouraged to keep checking their respective program websites for updates.
Some HAF program websites that are currently only providing preliminary information specify when homeowners in the state may be able to begin applying for HAF aid. According to Minnesota’s website, the application period will run from May 17 to June 17.
Homeowners in states with open HAF programs can check their eligibility and apply now by visiting the websites of their respective programs, which are all listed on the NCSHA page.
According to the NCSHA map, only four states (Colorado, Montana, Oregon, and Washington) and the District of Columbia are still running pilot programs. All of their program websites include links to applications or instructions on how to determine eligibility and speak with a counselor about their specific situation.
Anyone interested in learning more about HAF programs run by tribal governments can visit the National American Indian Housing Council Tribal Housing Assistance Resource Hub. The hub also includes a map of the United States, and clicking on a specific state will take the user to another page that lists any available HAF programs as well as their websites and/or contact information.