Oregon Homeowner Assistance Program: Final Days to Submit Applications

Oregon Homeowner Assistance Program: Final Days to Submit Applications

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has announced the impending closure of the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program to most new applicants. This decision is a strategic measure to prevent the overcommitment of funds. The application portal is set to close at noon PST on December 20. However, homeowners currently facing active foreclosure still have the opportunity to apply through a housing counselor.

Ryan Vanden Brink, the assistant director of Homeowner Assistance Programs, emphasized the urgency for those at immediate risk of losing their homes, socially disadvantaged individuals as defined by the U.S. Treasury, or those meeting specific eligibility criteria on the HAF website. “We’re encouraging homeowners to apply for HAF assistance before the noon deadline on Dec. 20,” he said. Vanden Brink also cautioned that, despite accepting new applications, the program’s limited funds might not suffice for all applicants as it nears its conclusion.

For those who have already applied, the HAF portal remains accessible for checking application statuses and monitoring scheduled payments. This continued access ensures transparency and ongoing communication for existing applicants.

OHCS has designed the HAF program primarily as a safety net for homeowners who are most vulnerable and lack feasible alternatives to retain their homes. Consequently, these individuals will be given priority in the processing of their applications.

In the event that funds are still available after the closure of the portal and the processing of current applications, HAF intake partners will have the authority to submit new applications. This provision is specifically for homeowners involved in a judicial foreclosure action or those in nonjudicial foreclosure with an imminent sale date. These applicants, however, may be required to complete necessary intake paperwork and undergo foreclosure prevention counseling before they can work with a counselor. It is important to note that even with this provision, funding may not be sufficient to cover all new applications.

The HAF program has been instrumental in maintaining a historically low foreclosure rate in Oregon during and since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to August 2023 Corelogic data, Oregon’s foreclosure rate stood at 0.16%, significantly lower than the 20-year average of 1.03%. This success is attributed to the foreclosure moratorium, increased mortgage forbearance, default workout options, and the impact of the HAF program.

As of December 4, OHCS has approved 1,745 applications, totaling approximately $46.9 million of the $72 million available when the program launched. Over $35 million in approved funds have already been disbursed, with an average award of about $27,000. The agency is reviewing or monitoring another 859 applications that, if approved, are projected to total $23.2 million in assistance. With an estimated $1.9 million remaining, OHCS is actively working with homeowners, housing counselors, and mortgage servicers to postpone and prevent hundreds of foreclosures for applicants. For more detailed information, the public is encouraged to visit the HAF Dashboard.

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