(Center Square) — Pennsylvania has launched a new $350 million program designed to help homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Tom Wolfe announced the launch of the statewide Pennsylvania Homeowners Assistance Fund (PAHAF) Thursday after approval by the US Treasury. The fund uses $350 million from the U.S. Bailout Act distributed to Pennsylvania through the Treasury’s Homeowners Assistance Fund to help homeowners avoid mortgage arrears, defaults and foreclosures, as well as to help pay utilities.
“As we continue to move forward with our efforts to recover from the coronavirus, we must address the growing number of homeowners facing the prospect of losing their homes and foreclosures — and this program will do just that,” Wolf said. “The Homeowners Assistance Fund will prioritize individuals and families most in need, as well as the socially disadvantaged. I am grateful that the US Treasury approved the Pennsylvania plan, and we can start the new year by distributing this important funding to homeowners.”
The funds are intended to help homeowners with incomes at or below 150% of the median income in the area who are dealing with “unexpected” financial hardship related to the pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency will administer the General Mortgage Corporation program, with applications submitted online beginning February 1 Authority website It also provides resources for homeowners who may need personal assistance in completing an application, according to Wolff’s press release.
To qualify for this assistance, eligible Pennsylvania homeowners must have experienced a decrease in income or an increase in living expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic after January 21, 2020 (including hardship that began before January 21, 2020 but continued after that date ), “Read the statement. “They must also own and currently occupy their home in Pennsylvania as their primary residence. Additionally, the program has specific income requirements in order to be eligible.”
The relief comes as millions of Americans face foreclosures after the ban on federally backed foreclosures expired last year. The Biden administration has extended patience options for government-backed loans through the end of September, while the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has urged lenders to postpone foreclosure proceedings until 2022.
Foreclosures initially rose in October as federal foreclosure protections expired, then fell in November, even though Pennsylvania was among the top states for completed foreclosures that month, according to the US Mortgage Market Report By ATTOM Data Solutions, a company that tracks foreclosures.
Public Mortgage Authority assistance programs include mortgage re-mortgage assistance, term-mortgage payment assistance, housing change assistance and utility payments to avoid displacement. The money will be distributed directly to mortgage lenders, services, utility providers, and other third parties, not to homeowners.
“Our mission is to help Pennsylvania achieve housing stability despite the many difficulties it has faced during these turbulent times,” said Robin Weissman, executive director of the PHFA. “The Pennsylvania Public Health Service will provide critical support to eligible Pennsylvania homeowners, allowing families to recover and helping communities weather the devastating financial and economic effects of the pandemic.”