Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

Treasury Issues Homeowner Assistance Fund Guidance

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act included $9.9 billion in relief for homeowners to be administered through a new Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF). These funds, which will soon be made available to eligible homeowners through their states, may be used for assistance with mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments, and other specified purposes under the law and guidance.

The HAF was created 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. The law and guidance prioritize funds for homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships, limits eligibility based on need, and can only be used for certain qualified expenses.

The statute requires the Department of Treasury to provide a minimum of $50 million for each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico; $498 million for Tribes or Tribally designated housing entities and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; and, $30 million for the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These allocations will be based on homeowner need determined by reference to (1) the average number of unemployed individuals; and (2) the number of homeowners with late mortgage payments or foreclosures. States must apply for the funds by April 25 and develop their programs according to the new Treasury guidance for distribution to homeowners in need.

See NAR's Summary for more information on the HAF and Treasury guidance.