VHFA is gathering input and data regarding two components of the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) slated to open later this year. HAF was created by the federal American Rescue Plan Act to provide relief for homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 2020. The Fund will provide Vermont up to $50 million over the next 4 years to provide assistance for mortgage and other expenses troubling homeowners with pandemic-related hardship as well as for housing counseling and legal services.
According to April 2021 guidance from the U.S. Treasury, HAF may be used for 8 types of emergency needs. Services and assistance provided by HAF funds must go to homeowners that attest that they experienced financial hardship after January 21, 2020 (such as job loss, reduction in income, or increased costs due to health care or the need to care for a family member) and that meet the various eligibility criteria for HAF. At least 60% of HAF funding must go to households with incomes less than or equal to the greater of (i) 100% of the area median income or (ii) 100% of the median income for the U.S. The remaining funds must be prioritized for assistance to socially disadvantaged individuals. The maximum household income of any recipient of HAF assistance cannot be greater than 150% of area median income.
VHFA is currently seeking suggestions about the following two HAF program components:
- Housing counseling, education and legal services - Up to 5% of the funding can be used for counseling or educational efforts by housing counseling agencies approved by HUD, or legal services, targeted to households eligible to be served with funding from the HAF related to foreclosure prevention or displacement.
- Measures to prevent homeowner displacement - HAF may fund measures to prevent homeowner displacement, such as home repairs to maintain the habitability of a home or assistance to enable households to receive clear title to their properties.
VHFA will use input and data collected to develop plans for implementing these two HAF components. If possible, please project for the next four years on annual basis the number of households you would likely serve with these funds, the median income of these households, median costs to your organization per household for providing services, and any other information that you think would be appropriate. Please send proposals regarding these HAF program components to [email protected] by June 30, 2021.
For the latest information about the status of the HAF program in Vermont, please consult our website or attend an upcoming public meeting. On Tuesday, June 22, at noon, VHFA will hold the 3rd public meeting via Zoom to discuss the status of drafting the HAF plan, answer questions and collect input. Registration is required for this meeting. A 4th public meeting will likely be held in July to review the draft HAF plan.
Through the shorter-term Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program started in July 2020 and ending in 2021, VHFA has provided 858 households across the state with grants for up to 12 months of back mortgage payments and property taxes. The program is currently accepting applications and administered by VHFA but is open to all eligible homeowners regardless of loan servicer. Homeowners with mortgages who have pandemic-related hardship and back mortgage payments or property taxes can learn more and apply at www.vhfa.org/map or by calling (888) 714-2260.