Bucks for Buffalo: These New York State Homeowners May be Eligible for Mortgage Assistance
Just a few months ago New York State Governor Kathy Hochul dropped a bombshell.
After decades of systematic neglect and oppression-by-proxy, many East Buffalo homeowners may get respite. Compounded by the pandemic and runaway inflation in a rough economy, homeowners in this historically underserved community are struggling.
But the Buffalo East Homeowner Assistance Fund (BEHAF) may be able to help those homeowners struggling to pay mortgages, property taxes, and even utilities with money in their pocket.
The BEHAF is similar to the national Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), which was a $50M federal grant under the nearly $10B American Rescue Plan Act. The fund exists to help lower and middle-income families and homeowners experiencing strife in the post-pandemic economy. The BEHAF also serves the same purpose but targets these deserving communities.
To be eligible for funds under the BEHAF, homeowners must own a 1 to 4-family home, so apartments and similar structure owners do not qualify. They will also have to be homeowners within one of nine zip codes specially designated as recipients:
Unlike many similar programs, though, there are no income requirements – only home type and zip code.
What are the Benefits and What’s Covered?
Eligible homeowners can receive up to $50,000. The money is technically a loan, but a conditional loan. This means that the loan is 0% interest with no monthly payment requirement, if the homeowners stays in the home for at least five years. After five years the loan is forgiven. But if they sell or refinance the mortgage (or even move and rent the property out), they will have to pay back the entire loan.
Pretty much all housing-related bills are covered under the BEHAF, including
- Mortgage assistance including past-due payments and forbearance.
- Lien prevention to prevent the creation of liens on homes with the express purpose of helping homeowners stay in place.
- Utility payment assistance to help homeowners pay for delinquent utility services like electricity and water.
What You’ll Need
If you qualify, make sure you do the legwork before applying to expedite your assistance. The BEHAF requires proof of home ownership and debt documentation to apply. The New York State Housing and Community Renewal office also partnered with the Western New York Law Center to help residents determine eligibility and apply.
Not in an eligible zip code or need additional assistance? You can always explore your refinancing options here.