With a pot of money totaling nearly $700 million, the state is taking applications for a fund aimed at helping homeowners who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read on to learn more about the program and how to apply if you need help to stay in your home.
UP TO $65K IN ASSISTANCE FOR HOMEOWNERS
So far, the Texas Homeowner Assistance Fund has distributed nearly $39 million to around 5,000 households. According to the publicly available online dashboard, the average household received around $7,000 in assistance.
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Executive Director Bobby Wilkinson said the program could cover up to $40,000 in past-due mortgage payments and up to $25,000 in overdue property taxes, property insurance and HOA fees.
“This is there to help people keep their homes,” said Wilkinson.
Congress allocated the money for homeowners as part of the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden last March.
Payments are made to the mortgage servicer or tax authority, insurance company, or HOA after the homeowner’s application is approved.
WHO CAN APPLY?
Among the eligibility requirements: the homeowner must be behind at least one payment and the home must be the homeowner’s primary residence.
Homeowners must have experienced financial hardship like lost income or increased expenses due to the pandemic. The homeowner must show they could keep up with future payments after receiving assistance.
“You also need to be able to demonstrate that we wouldn’t just be giving money and then you get foreclosed anyway the next month. You need to be able to show that you could, going forward, pay the next month’s mortgage,” explained Wilkinson.
There is an income requirement. You can check the threshold here.
Some of you may have entered into a forbearance agreement with your loan servicer to pause mortgage payments during the pandemic.
Wilkinson said the program can help people coming out of forbearance who need help catching up, “If you just had to make four months’ worth of mortgage payments all at once, that’s not reasonable for the median income household.”
If you’re still in forbearance, Wilkinson said you’ll need to make arrangements to get out to apply.
WHERE TO GET HELP WITH QUESTIONS
Applications are taken online through this portal.
Some applicants may have a hard time filling out the application on a mobile device. If you don’t have a computer, try your local public library to use a computer there.
Wilkinson said the program is working to sign up local nonprofits to serve as intake centers, assisting homeowners in submitting applications in person.
NBC 5 Responds asked how long it could take for eligible applicants to see payments. Wilkinson said it would depend on several factors, including if the state is already working with your mortgage servicer.
You can call this toll-free number if you have questions: 1-833-651-3874. The call center takes calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Help is available in multiple languages.
NBC 5 Responds recently called and found there was no wait to speak to someone.
The program said applicants should be sure to provide an email address they check frequently and a good phone number so the person reviewing the application can get back in touch.
The TDHCA also administered the Texas Rent Relief program until it closed applications last November. Wilkinson said the new round of funding is specifically set aside for homeowners and can not be re-directed to reopen the Texas Rent Relief program.
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