Financial Support for Struggling Homeowners: Help Comes at No Cost

Texas Home Assistance Program

Come Dream Come Build (CDCB) wants to ensure that residents of Cameron and Willacy counties who are facing challenges with mortgage, utility, or property tax payments are aware of the available help, although it may not be accessible indefinitely.

CDCB, previously known as the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville, announced on April 11th that the Texas Homeowner Assistance program still has federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to support homeowners who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDCB, the program’s administrator in Cameron and Willacy counties, is currently assisting homeowners in applying for up to $65,000 in financial aid. These funds can be used to cover past-due mortgages, property taxes, utility bills, homeowner association fees, and insurance expenses.

Of the total amount, up to $25,000 can be allocated towards past-due property taxes, and $10,000 can be used for past-due utility payments. The payments are made directly to loan providers, taxing authorities, insurance companies, and other relevant entities, rather than disbursed to homeowners.

CDCB’s Executive Director, Nick Mitchell-Bennett, emphasized that these are the final ARPA funds available for homeowner assistance. He expressed the organization’s determination to ensure that all funds are utilized and not returned to the federal government.

“We want to get it out there because they’re going to wrap it up, so we want to make sure everybody hears about it,” Mitchell-Bennett stated.

He also acknowledged the possibility that many eligible residents might not be aware of the program and assured that sufficient funds are still available to assist hundreds of homeowners in need.

The program is open to residents, including non-U.S. citizens, who own and occupy a home in Texas as their primary residence. To be eligible, applicants must be behind on mortgage, property tax, utility, homeowner association fee, or insurance payments, and have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic after January 2020. Household income must be at or below 100 percent of the Area Median Income or 100 percent of the U.S. median income, whichever is greater.

CDCB staff members are present in both counties throughout the week to assist clients. For more information or to apply for assistance through the program, individuals can call (956) 371-5344.

“We can either help them by phone or meet them in person,” Mitchell-Bennett explained. “We also invite homeowners in need to visit our Brownsville office located at 901 E. Levee St. if they need more information and to apply in person.”

Mitchell-Bennett highlighted that the program is not exclusively for low-income individuals. The government’s aim is to prevent another foreclosure crisis, as many people are still grappling with the aftermath of COVID-19. He encouraged those who meet the requirements to take advantage of the opportunity, referring to it as “free money” and a chance to overcome financial challenges before they escalate.

“There are a lot of folks living on payday loans and stuff. This is to try to help folks dig themselves out of the hole before something bad happens. It’s free money. Anybody who can meet the requirements should take advantage of it,” he urged.

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