New $273 Million Fund Available to NC Homeowners for Help with Bills
“We do expect there will be a fair amount of need across the state,” said Connie Helmlinger, marketing manager of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.
Applications opened Monday for the $273 million North Carolina Homeowner Assistance Fund. Nearly two years into the pandemic and almost a year after Congress approved the aid, funds are finally available to North Carolina homeowners who can show they’ve struggled due to job loss or illness related to COVID-19. While North Carolina was among the first 10 states to submit plans for managing the money to the federal government in August, the plan didn’t get approved until December.
North Carolina is the 14th state to begin distributing aid.
“We are extremely excited this program is finally available, and we look forward to helping as many people as we can with it,” Hemlinger said.
North Carolina Homeowner Assistance funds can be used for mortgage payments, to catch up on past-due bills, or other housing-related costs including insurance, HOA fees or property taxes. Any North Carolina homeowner with an income up to $79,900 who can demonstrate pandemic-related financial hardship is eligible for aid. Each household could get up to $40,000. Those who have lost a job, had hours cut or incurred additional costs for child care are encouraged to apply.
Seth Friedman works at Passage Home, a community action agency that works to prevent families in Wake County from falling into poverty.
“They’re terrified of becoming homeless or losing their home in this area,” he says of his clients.
According data from the North Carolina Housing Coalition, more than 42,000 households struggle to meet their mortgage payment. In Durham County, 19% are struggling; in Wake that percentage is 17; and a quarter of homeowners in Cumberland County are having a tough time.
“People have gone through a lot of economic impacts from the pandemic, particularly those people whose industries went away, who lost their jobs,” Hemlinger said.
About NC Homeowner Assistance Fund
The NC Homeowner Assistance Fund was established through the 2021 American Rescue Plan to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements, and foreclosures for homeowners experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic. The assistance of up to $40,000 is available for qualified homeowners as long as funding is available.
What is it?
Established through the American Rescue Plan of 2021, the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund was created for homeowners in North Carolina to help prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements, and foreclosures due to COVID-19.
What does it cover?
For qualified homeowners, the fund offers:
- Housing payment assistance for primary residence in North Carolina (for example, single-family home, townhome, condo or mobile home)
- Assistance for mortgage reinstatement to catch up on late payments (first and 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 or prevent foreclosure.
Households can apply online at NCHomeownerAssistance.gov or call 1-855-MY-NCHAF (1-855-696-2423). The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency says payments should start going out within 6 to 8 weeks.