The Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) is a federal assistance program that helps homeowners who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 pay their mortgage or other home expenses.
Check your local program
Click on the link below to get details and, if your state, district, or territory is currently accepting applications, apply.
Important Program Information
Here you’ll find answers to key questions about the HAF program. For any other questions, see additional details below or contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. They can help guide you through the application process.
The Homeowner Assistance Fund was established by the American Rescue Plan Act to help homeowners who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 with certain housing-related costs. The program’s goal is to prevent:
- Mortgage issues like delinquencies, defaults, or foreclosures
- Loss of power services or other home utilities
- Homeowners being displaced and losing the ability to live in their home
The HAF program available to you will depend on your area. Each state or territory developed its own program. Programs were also developed by Tribes (or their Tribally Designated Housing Entity), the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and the District of Columbia.
Many programs began accepting applications in early 2022. In total, approximately $10 billion will be disbursed to programs across the country.
To be eligible, you must:
- Have experienced a financial hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Apply for assistance for your primary residence.
- Have household income at or below your state’s program requirements. Most state programs limit eligibility to households with less than 150% of the median income in your area or $79,900, whichever is higher. Some programs have established lower limits, so check your program’s income requirements before applying .
- You may also have to meet additional requirements specific to the program where you are applying.
Depending on the program, homeowners may use the funds for expenses such as:
- Mortgage payments, including past due payments
- Property taxes
- Homeowners insurance
- Homeowners association fees
- Utilities, such as electricity, gas, home energy (including firewood and home heating oil), water, and wastewater
- Internet service
- Certain home repairs
Not all programs will cover all of the expenses listed here. Check your local program for details .
Application processes may vary by location. You will need to verify that you meet income requirements and may need to provide additional necessary documentation. You must confirm that you have experienced a financial hardship after January 21, 2020 and describe the nature of that hardship, such as a job loss, reduction in income, or increased costs due to healthcare or the need to care for a family member.
To learn about your program, visit this site and select the appropriate state, district, or territory on the map. You will be able to navigate to a page for your area’s specific program where you may be able to apply immediately or sign up to receive alerts about when your program will be available.
If you are part of a Tribe or live on tribal lands, you can reach out to your affiliate tribal government to see what HAF resources may be available. If you are a Native Hawaiian, you can find more information on the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands mortgage relief program website .
In most cases, programs are providing money as a grant that does not need to be paid back. However, under some circumstances, individual programs may require the money to be repaid. For example, repayment may be requested if you sell your home before a specified date. Check your specific program requirements based on your area.
If you are still unsure about whether or not you have to repay any assistance you receive, contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.
Application submission does not guarantee you will receive financial assistance. Depending on your area, some programs may not have enough money to help every applicant. Some locations expect to receive more applications than can be funded by their program.
In most cases, if you are approved, money will be sent directly to your mortgage servicer, utility company, or contractor making repairs, if they participate in the HAF program. Your mortgage servicer is the company that sends your mortgage statements and to which you make your mortgage payments. If money is being used to help with mortgage payments, it’s a good idea to call your servicer to discuss the process, verify that they participate in the HAF program, and let them know that they will likely be receiving payment from the HAF program. HAF assistance can and should be used in addition to any other payment adjustment options provided by your mortgage servicer.
A HUD Certified Housing Counselor can assist you with the application process. Find a housing counselor near you.
Many states cover a wide variety of homes, including:
- Single-family homes
- One-to-four-unit dwellings
- Manufactured homes
If you are otherwise eligible for HAF, you can still apply for HAF even if the foreclosure process has started. Depending on who owns your mortgage, the foreclosure process could be paused while you are in the HAF application process, and if you are approved, the money could be used to bring your mortgage current and stop foreclosure altogether. For example, if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backs your mortgage, your servicer is generally required to pause foreclosure activities for up to 60 days once your HAF program has notified them of your application.
Other government agencies, such as FHA, VA, and USDA, strongly encourage servicers to pause the foreclosure process once they have been notified that a borrower has applied for HAF or been approved for assistance but do not require it. Some state HAF programs may require a servicer to pause foreclosure activity. Check with your HAF program to see if they have notified your servicer. Regardless of who backs your mortgage, it’s a good idea to let your servicer know that you have applied for HAF and ask if the foreclosure process can be paused.
If you are concerned about losing your home to foreclosure, contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency who can help you develop a plan. If you need a lawyer, you may qualify for free legal services through your local bar association or legal aid. If you are a servicemember, contact your local Legal Assistance Office.
Yes, if you have been approved for HAF funds but are having difficulty with your servicer accepting the payment, you can submit a complaint online. We’ll forward it to the company and work to get you a response, generally within 15 days.
If you have not been approved, you can instead try to get in contact with a representative from your local HAF program who can explain why you did not meet their eligibility criteria. Find your program by visiting this site and selecting the appropriate state, district, or territory on the map.
Scammers often target vulnerable homeowners who are in need of assistance or trying to stay in their homes. A common tactic scammers use is requiring you to pay an upfront fee before giving you any services. They may also try to charge you for applying to a free program. It is generally unnecessary and often illegal for a company to charge you upfront with a promise to help you get mortgage relief. Avoid any company that does this. There is no cost to apply for HAF.
Additionally, scammers may ask you to sign over the title to your property, ask you to sign papers that you do not understand, say you should start making payments to someone other than your servicer or lender, or tell you to stop making mortgage loan payments altogether. Be careful to avoid scammers who engage in these practices.
You should always make sure you are getting information and applying from official government websites (for example, with website addresses ending in “.gov”) and sources. Scammers will sometimes use websites that look similar to official government websites to trick consumers. If you are unsure if something is a scam, contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for HAF and are still concerned about losing your home, there may be other options available to you. Learn about some potential options for making up missed mortgage payments or contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. They can help you figure out your options and guide you through the paperwork and process of working with your servicer. Find a housing counselor near you.
Remember, help is free. You don’t have to pay anyone to help you avoid foreclosure.
I'm an expert in housing and financial assistance programs, particularly those related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. My expertise is backed by a deep understanding of government initiatives, policies, and programs designed to aid individuals facing financial hardships related to housing. I can provide detailed insights into the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) and its provisions, drawing upon my knowledge of the American Rescue Plan Act and related federal and state programs.
Now, let's break down the concepts used in the provided article on Coronavirus, Mortgage and Housing Assistance, and Help for Homeowners:
Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF):
- Purpose: The HAF is a federal assistance program established by the American Rescue Plan Act to help homeowners financially impacted by COVID-19 with housing-related costs.
- Objective: It aims to prevent mortgage issues like delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of power services, and displacement.
- Program Development: Each state, territory, Tribe, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and the District of Columbia developed its own program under HAF.
- Financial Hardship: Applicants must have experienced a financial hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Primary Residence: Assistance is applicable only for the primary residence.
- Income Requirements: Household income should be at or below the state's program requirements, usually limited to 150% of the median income or $79,900, whichever is higher.
- Documentation: Applicants need to provide necessary documentation, verify income requirements, and describe the nature of their financial hardship.
- Application Period: Programs began accepting applications in early 2022, with approximately $10 billion allocated across the country.
Approved Usage of Funds:
- Expenses: Depending on the program, funds can be used for mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities, certain home repairs, etc.
- Program Variations: Not all programs cover the same expenses, so applicants are advised to check local program details.
Distribution and Repayment:
- Grant Nature: In most cases, the funds are provided as grants that do not require repayment.
- Exceptions: Some programs may have specific circumstances where repayment is required, such as selling the home before a specified date.
Application Approval and Disbursement:
- Approval: Approval doesn't guarantee financial assistance, and some programs may not have sufficient funds for all applicants.
- Disbursement: If approved, funds are sent directly to mortgage servicers, utility companies, or contractors.
- Application Impact: Applying for HAF can pause the foreclosure process, depending on mortgage ownership (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.).
- Servicer Communication: It's advisable to inform mortgage servicers about HAF participation and discuss the process.
Additional Support and Precautions:
- HUD Housing Counselors: HUD-certified housing counselors can assist with the application process.
- Scam Awareness: Caution against scammers, emphasizing that HAF applications are free, and official information comes from government websites.
- Eligibility Concerns: If ineligible for HAF, individuals can explore alternative options for making up missed mortgage payments with guidance from HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.
Remember, I'm here to provide further insights or clarify any specific aspects of the article.