While it is unknown whether the federal government will issue the fourth round of stimulus checks, homeowners across the country may be eligible for additional financial assistance now through the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).
According to the Treasury Department, the goal of the HAF is to “avoid mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and relocation of homeowners experiencing financial difficulty after January 21, 2020.” HAF funds can be used to help with mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility bills, and other expenses.
“The legislation prioritizes payments for homeowners who have faced the greatest challenges,” the Treasury stated on its website, “leveraging local and national income statistics to enhance the effect.”
While HAF funds are not the same as the three stimulus checks issued by the US since the outbreak of COVID-19, they were included in President Joe Biden’s comprehensive stimulus program, the American Rescue Plan. According to the Treasury, approximately $10 billion has been set aside for the fund.
Each participant received a different amount of money, but each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico received at least $50 million. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and tribally designated housing agencies received $498 million, while the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands received $30 million.
The Treasury Department initially provided 10% of the cash allotted to each state or territory in 2021 for pilot initiatives, but the states were required to submit implementation plans for evaluation before the remaining funds were released.
The exact amount of money each participant received, as well as their implementation plans and comments, can be found on the Treasury website’s “HAF Plans” page.
Homeowners seeking financial assistance through the HAF can check the status of their state’s program on the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) website. The site’s HAF page includes a map of the United States that shows whether each state or territory currently has a HAF program, is running a trial program, or has released preliminary information.
The majority of states currently have open HAF programs, with only seven providing only preliminary information. Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Utah are not currently accepting aid applications, but Americans seeking HAF assistance in those states should continue to monitor their local program websites for updates.
Some HAF program websites now only provide basic information about when homeowners in the state may be able to apply for HAF assistance. According to Minnesota’s website, the application period will run from May 17 to June 17.
Homeowners in states with open HAF programs can find out if they are eligible and apply right now by visiting their respective program websites, 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 currently conducting experimental programs. All of their program websites include links to applications or instructions on how to determine their eligibility and speak with a counselor about their specific situation.
If you want to learn more about tribal government-sponsored HAF programs, the National American Indian Housing Council Tribal Housing Assistance Resource Hub is a good place to start. 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 HAF programs that are available, as well as their websites and/or contact information.