N.C Homeowner Assistance Fund Opens Statewide
“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been felt by many North Carolinians,” said Scott Farmer, executive director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, which is administering the N.C. Homeowner Assistance Fund. “This program is designed to help homeowners who are experiencing pandemic-related financial hardships hold on to their homes while they get back on their feet. Ensuring that families have stable housing has always been our mission and that has become even more critical during this ongoing public health crisis.”
Caldwell County homeowners who are financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for housing-related help.
The N.C. Homeowner Assistance Fund is now accepting applications from North Carolina homeowners whose finances were impacted by the pandemic and who need assistance with housing-related expenses. Established through the 2021 American Rescue Plan to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements, and foreclosures for homeowners experiencing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund offers assistance of up to $40,000 for qualified homeowners as long as funding is available.
As of the most recent data (September 2021) from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Caldwell County saw 3.1% of the population in outstanding mortgage forbearance. To compare, Burke County’s population had 2.4%, Catawba County saw 2.5%, and Alexander County had 2.7% of the population in outstanding forbearance.
Regarding non-forborne mortgages that are 30 days or more past due, Caldwell County saw 3.1%, Burke County saw 3.1%, Catawba County saw 2.5%, and Alexander County saw 3.1% of the population with non-forborne mortgages.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are federally-backed home mortgage companies created by the U.S. Congress. In March 2020, the FHFA encouraged mortgage borrowers nationwide to take advantage of forbearance programs in light of the growing economic impact of COVID-19. Borrowers whose loans are not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac were also offered forbearance plans similar to those offered by the government-sponsored enterprises. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta website at atlantafed.com, by the end of April 2020, nearly 4.5 million mortgages in the United States were in forbearance.
For qualified homeowners, the N.C. Homeowner Assistance Fund offers:
— Housing payment assistance for primary residence in North Carolina (for example, single-family home, town-home, condo, or mobile home).
— Assistance for mortgage reinstatement to catch up on late payments (first or second mortgages) or other housing-related costs due to a period of forbearance, delinquency, or default.
— Assistance covering other housing-related costs such as homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s association dues/fees, or delinquent property taxes to prevent foreclosure.
Homeowners may be eligible for assistance if they are experiencing financial hardship due to job loss or business closure, reduction in hours or pay, difficulty obtaining new employment, death of a spouse or co-borrower, or increased expenses due to the pandemic. Increased expenses can be due to health care, the need to care for a family member, increased child care costs due to school closures, or increased costs associated with quarantine. Applicants must be seeking assistance for a primary residence in North Carolina and meet income and other requirements.
Homeowners can learn more and apply for help by calling 1-855-MY-NCHAF (1-855-696-2423) or by visiting NCHomeownerAssistance.gov.