“ Secret ” stimulus check: what you need to know about the Homeowners Assistance Fund for more relief
Most Americans have now received three stimulus checks to help solve financial woes amid the coronavirus pandemic, but there’s a little-known way to get more relief if you’re a homeowner.
The recent $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package, known as the American Rescue Plan, includes a “secret” stimulus check called the Homeowners Assistance Fund. According to Money wise, nearly $ 10 billion has been set aside for direct financial assistance to help homeowners pay their mortgages, taxes, utilities, insurance, and homeowner’s association dues.
Forbes reports that the US Treasury Department sends money to states to distribute the money through state housing agencies. The amount of aid per state depends on the number of reported late mortgage payments and foreclosures, as well as unemployment statistics and related data.
As of February, nearly 3 million homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments and about 2.1 million are withholding.
Each state will receive at least $ 50 million from the Homeowners Assistance Fund. According to Treasury DepartmentNew York State is expected to receive $ 539.5 million, behind only California ($ 1.06 billion), Florida ($ 676 million) and Texas ($ 842 million).
“This is a considerable amount of funds,” said Kerry Quaglia, CEO of Home HeadQuarters, Inc., in Syracuse.
Here’s how you qualify: You must own your home and have a mortgage with less than $ 548,250 (as of 2021). You should contact your national housing agency apply; Quaglia says New York State is developing a system for eligible homeowners to start doing so soon.
According to Forbes, at least 60% of the aid must go to mortgage borrowers with income below the national median income or the respective local median income, whichever is higher.
The relief will be in addition to the federal moratorium on mortgage foreclosures due to the Covid-19 pandemic; in the state of New York, a moratorium on residential and commercial foreclosure proceedings is currently in place until August 31, 2021. Forbes recommends contacting your bank or mortgage agent to get forbearance for up to 18 months.
Yahoo! Finance reports that the funds must be used by September 30, 2025. Illinois was one of the first states to announce a mortgage assistance program for its residents, with up to $ 25,000 for homeowners.
The Homeowners Assistance Fund is part of President Joe Biden’s US bailout, which passed in March and included expanded unemployment benefits through September 6 to $ 300 per week; $ 60 billion for Covid-19 testing and vaccine distribution; $ 130 billion to help schools reopen safely; $ 25 billion to help bars and restaurants; $ 7.25 billion for the paycheck protection program; $ 350 billion in emergency funding for state, local and territorial governments; $ 30 billion to help low-income households and the unemployed pay rent and utilities; Child tax credits of up to $ 3,600 per child; and a third set of stimulus checks worth up to $ 1,400 per person.
A fourth series of dunning checks is also possible. The White House says it’s in Congress; CNET reports that a small number of members of Congress have started asking for more direct payments from Americans this month, but it’s still unclear whether they’ll get enough support.