While it remains unclear whether Americans could see a fourth round of stimulus checks from the federal government, homeowners throughout the US could be eligible for additional financial aid now under the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).
The purpose of HAF, according to the Treasury Department, 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.” Homeowners can use HAF funds to help pay for mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments and other purposes.
“The law prioritizes funds for homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships, leveraging local and national income indicators to maximize the impact,” the Treasury explained on its website.
While HAF funds are not the same as the three checks the US has rolled out since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were stimulus as part of President Joe Biden’s sweeping stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan. Nearly $10 billion was set aside for the fund, according to the Treasury.
The amount of funds that have been allocated to each participant has varied, but each US state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were all provided with a minimum of $50 million apiece. Tribes or tribally designated housing entities and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands were provided with $498 million, while the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands were provided with $30 million.
The Treasury initially released 10 percent of the funds each state or territory was allocated in 2021 so that they could implement pilot programs, but the department required the states to then submit implementation plans for it to review before releasing the remaining funds.
The exact amount of funds each participant was allocated, as well as their implementation plans and feedback, can be viewed on the “HAF Plans” page on the Treasury website.
US homeowners seeking financial assistance via the HAF can view the status of their state’s respective program on the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) website. The site’s HAF page contains a US map showing whether each state or territory currently has their HAF program open, is running a pilot HAF program or has made preliminary information available.
Most of the states currently have open HAF programs, and just seven have only made preliminary information available. Those that only have preliminary information available—Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota and Utah—are not currently accepting applications for assistance, but Americans in those states who are seeking HAF assistance are encouraged to keep checking on their respective program websites for updates.
Some of the websites for HAF programs that are currently only offering preliminary information specify when homeowners in the state may be able to start applying for HAF aid. Minnesota’s website, for example, states that the application period will take place from May 17 to June 17.
Homeowners in states with open HAF programs can determine their eligibility and apply now by visiting their respective program websites, all of which are listed on the NCSHA page.
Only four states—Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Washington—and the District of Columbia are still running pilot programs, according to the NCSHA map. Their program websites all include links to applications or instructions on how to determine their eligibility and speak with a counselor to work on their specific situation.
Anyone looking to learn more about HAF programs being run by Tribal governments can find more information on the National American Indian Housing Council Tribal Housing Assistance Resource Hub. The hub also contains a US map, and clicking on a specific state will redirect a user to another page showing any available HAF programs and the websites and/or contact information for those programs.