Florida has $676.1 Million Available for Homeowners Struggling During COVID-19
Florida’s Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) is now available to help homeowners struggling with financial hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity’s website.
According to the ARP, the HAF was established to mitigate financial hardships associated with
the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds to eligible entities for the purpose of preventing
homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy
services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21,
2020, through qualified expenses related to mortgages and housing.
Homeownership Landscape in Florida
The state is home to more than twenty-one million (21,000,000) people, living in approximately nine
million seven hundred thousand (9,700,000) housing units
. The state is administratively divided into sixty-seven (67) counties, four hundred and eleven (411) cities, towns, and villages, and twenty-four (24) workforce regions.6 The state is also organized into ten (10) EDDs7 including Apalachee region, Central Florida region, East Central Florida region, North Central Florida region, Northeast Florida region, South Florida region, Southwest Florida region, Tampa Bay region, Treasure Coast region, and West Florida region. The EDDs are used in this document to describe the state’s demographic, economic, and housing conditions and how they vary geographically.
Coronavirus Pandemic Impact
COVID-19 created extenuating circumstances for millions of homeowners across the United States.
Impacted households fell behind on their mortgages and related homeownership expenses due to an
economic downturn that was beyond their control. In the most recently released Household Pulse Survey
of adults living in owner-occupied housing units published by the United States Census Bureau (Census
Bureau) for the week of May 26 – June 7, 2021, 11 percent (or 613 thousand) of 5.5 million Florida
participants responded “No” to a question asking if their household is currently caught up on mortgage
payments. Seventy-six percent of the survey participants from Florida who responded being behind on
mortgage payments are of socially disadvantaged backgrounds as defined in the HAF Guidance released
by the Treasury.
Homeowners are eligible to receive amounts allocated to a HAF participant under the HAF if
they experienced financial hardship after January 21, 2020 (including a hardship that began
before January 21, 2020, but continued after that date) and have incomes equal to or less than
150% of the area median income or 100% of the median income for the United States, whichever
is greater. A HAF participant may provide HAF funds only to a homeowner with respect to
qualified expenses related to the dwelling that is such homeowner’s primary residence.
HAF participants must require homeowners to attest that they experienced financial hardship
after January 21, 2020. The attestation must describe the nature of the financial hardship (for
example, job loss, reduction in income, or increased costs due to healthcare or the need to care
for a family member).
The HAF does not preclude Tribes or TDHEs from providing assistance to members, or
individuals otherwise eligible for HAF, who reside outside the tribal government’s geographic
jurisdiction. Tribal authorities should confirm that any such assistance can be provided
consistently with the Tribe’s constitution and governing law.