How the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund is Making a Difference for 1,300 Households
The Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), managed by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), has come to the rescue of 1,295 households struggling to keep their homes amid the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has provided federal emergency mortgage relief to those who’ve seen their lives turned upside down, like Jason Gist of Grants Pass. After losing his job and watching his savings shrink, Gist credits the program as a “lifeline for homeowners facing unprecedented challenges.” Alongside Jason, Vickie Smith from Klamath Falls also expressed her heartfelt thanks to the program for stepping in just in time to prevent her home from being foreclosed.
The HAF program offers significant financial relief, providing up to $50,000 to help low- and moderate-income homeowners catch up on past-due mortgages and other housing expenses. Those in low-income brackets may even qualify for an additional $10,000 for ongoing housing costs. Currently, OHCS has allocated $72 million for assistance, and the program, which began as a pilot at the end of 2021, has already approved $44 million in assistance, benefiting households both in urban and rural areas, including about 500 homeowners in rural regions of Oregon.
OHCS Director Andrea Bell highlights the program’s focus on aiding at-risk homeowners and those who have been traditionally underserved. According to her, homeownership is more than just a financial metric; it’s a way for families to build generational wealth. While the HAF program offers invaluable help, Bell also advises homeowners to explore other options by consulting certified housing counselors, who offer free services around the state. Even if you’re not guaranteed to receive HAF assistance, these counselors can guide you through alternative measures to retain your home. For more information, the OHCS website provides a comprehensive list of certified housing counselors by county, as well as a detailed HAF Dashboard.