Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for this program?

  • This program is for homeowners who live in Vermont who have missed more than two mortgage payments on their principal residences.
  • The program is limited to primary home mortgages – not home equity lines, home equity loans or reverse mortgages.
  • Both government (USDA, VA, FHA) and conventional loans are eligible. It does NOT have to be a VHFA loan.
  • Home mortgages entered into prior to March 1, 2020.
  • The program is also limited to Vermont households with incomes in the last 90 days of $15,000. (For homes in Chittenden County this limit is $18,000.)
  • Applicants with the lowest incomes and highest risk of foreclosure will be prioritized due to the limited amount of funds for the program. There is no assurance that any individual application will be funded.

What is the meaning of?
Mortgagor - the borrower under the mortgage loan
Mortgage Servicer or Servicer – the company that collects and applies payments on the mortgage loan
Forbearance or Deferral – an agreement by the Mortgage Servicer to allow the mortgagor to skip some payments on the mortgage loan with the understanding they will need to be paid back later

What if my mortgage is in forbearance?
You are eligible even if your mortgage is in forbearance or in deferred payment status so long as you have missed more than two regular payments prior to applying. If you are not sure about the status of your mortgage, please contact your mortgage servicer. Your mortgage servicer is typically the bank or credit union where you make your monthly mortgage payments.

What will the grant pay for?
Grants will help homeowners to get caught up on their mortgage payments, including principal, interest, and escrow payments such as property taxes, home insurance and private mortgage insurance (PMI). This program will provide payments equivalent to up to six months of payments or the total amount of payments in arrears, whichever is less. However, due to limited funding available, recipients may receive less than six months of payments. YOU WILL REMAIN RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY AMOUNTS NOT COVERED BY THE GRANTS.

How will I receive the money?
The payments will be made directly to your loan servicer. This is typically the bank or credit union from whom you receive your monthly mortgage statements. The loan servicer will apply the payments to your account balance. YOU WILL REMAIN RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY AMOUNTS NOT COVERED BY THE GRANTS.

What information will I need to provide?
You will need to provide some basic demographic information about your household as well as all income you have received in the last 90 days. You will also need to provide information about who services your loan and how much you pay each month. You can find that information on your monthly mortgage statement. This document should be sent to you each month via mail or email.

You will need to upload a copy of your most recent monthly mortgage statement. If you received a Forbearance Confirmation Letter from your servicer, that is required as well.

After you have applied, VHFA will contact your loan servicer. The servicer will be required to confirm to VHFA information regarding the mortgage, including late payments, provide electronic payment instructions, agree that funds received will be applied to the indicated late payments, and upon receipt of the funds, confirm that you, the mortgagor will no longer be considered to be liable with respect to those payments. Failure of the servicer to respond to VHFA requests for information or to timely provide the certifications required may result in making the mortgagor ineligible for the grant.

You can help make sure that VHFA has the right contact information by calling your servicer and asking for the name and telephone number of the person VHFA should call about your mortgage.  You can also send a Request for Information letter to your loan servicer, asking for contact information and giving your loan servicer permission to call VHFA directly to talk about your mortgage.  You can find a Sample Request for Information HERE.  For help completing a Request for Information, please contact Vermont Legal Aid/Legal Services at (800) 889-2047.

What counts as income on the application?
Income from any person who is a borrower on the mortgage should be reported on the application. Income can include but is not limited to:

  • Hourly or salaried wages, including stipends, overtime, bonuses, commissions, and tips
  • Self-employment income (net profit from your business)
  • Military pay, including base pay, reserve pay and any non-taxable stipends
  • State or federal public assistance, including unemployment payments, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Social Security, disability pay or pensions
  • Alimony or child support
  • Investment dividends or rental property income

Where can I find my mortgage statement?
This document should be sent to you each month via mail or email. It resembles a bank statement and will have your current loan balance, recent transactions, payment breakdown and other loan details. If you cannot find this document, call the person who you typically make mortgage payments to.

Will I have to pay back the money?
No. This is a grant, not a loan. However, applicants must certify the accuracy of the information under penalty of perjury and may face civil or criminal penalties for false information or any other attempt to defraud the program.

Will I have to pay 2020 taxes on this money?
We have been told by the IRS that this assistance will not be considered taxable income to borrowers but we have not received this in writing. If you are concerned about the taxability of any grant, please contact your tax adviser. VHFA does not provide tax advice.

What if I have a mobile home in a mobile home park?
Owners of mobile homes in mobile home parks are eligible under this program.  They are also eligible for assistance with their lot rental payments through the Vermont State Housing Authority.  Information on how to apply for lot rental assistance is available on their website or by calling 802-828-2040.

Will this change the terms of my mortgage?
No. Any changes to the terms of your forbearance agreement, or to your mortgage, would happen in writing in communications between you and your mortgage servicer. Changes in terms means changes to the amount due monthly, the due date of your mortgage, the term (length) of your mortgage, or your interest rate. Receiving this grant will not change the terms of your mortgage or forbearance.

Are there any limitations?

  • The program is limited to primary home mortgages - not home equity lines, home equity loans, or reverse mortgages.
  • The program is limited to home mortgages entered into prior to March 1, 2020.
  • The program is also limited to Vermont households with incomes in the last 90 days of $15,000. (For homes in Chittenden County this limit is $18,000.)
  • VHFA intends to prioritize applicants with the lowest incomes statewide once applications are received, depending on the extent of demand. However, given the limited amount of funds and the limited time to review applications and distribute awards there is no assurance that any individual application will be funded.

Is this just for VHFA loans?
No. Any Vermont homeowner who meets the eligibility requirements above can receive assistance.

How do I apply?
The online application is available through this website at www.vhfa.org/map. The application can be completed on any computer or smart phone.

If you are unable to apply online, please refer to next section.

Is someone available to help me apply?
Yes, the following resources are available to help you navigate the application:

For general questions, please call the Vermont Legal Aid/Legal Services hotline at (800) 889-2047.

For technical support, please call (888) 714-2260 or email mortgageassistance@vhfa.org

For help submitting your application, please click below for contact information for one of following local non-profit organizations:

Is my information confidential?
The online portal where applications are submitted is secure. VHFA will be sharing the information you provide with your loan servicer to confirm the details of your application. It is possible we may share limited information with other third parties as necessary for purposes of administering the program.

What is the application deadline?
Applications must be received by 11:59 PM on Monday, August 31. Applications received between July 13 and August 31, 2020 will be reviewed, verified, and prioritized with funding decisions to be made by September 30, 2020. The application deadline may be shortened with little to no notice if the application volume exceeds expectations. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Submitting an application early does not give it priority status.

When will I know if my application has been approved?
Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email to the email address used when applying. As your application is reviewed and at different stages along the process you will receive status updates emailed to you. VHFA intends to have awards for eligible applicants made by September 30. If funds remain available after the initial round of eligible applications are funded, VHFA will open a separate round of funding.

I have other questions. Who should I call?
A Mortgage Assistance Program information hotline is open 9 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday, at 1-800-889-2047.

I thought Vermont stopped all foreclosures?
There are a few ways that there is a moratorium on foreclosures, both federally and in Vermont. Vermont's Legal Help Website has the latest information on what the current status is. While foreclosures may be temporarily paused, this program was intended to help borrowers who were lowest income and most at risk of foreclosure once the moratorium is lifted. Giving assistance now for past due payments can help reduce the risk of foreclosure in the future.