PHFA now in charge of Homeowner Assistance Fund Program in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Home Owner Assistance Funds

Starting on February 6, 2023, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) will be fully administering Pennsylvania’s Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF), which provides financial aid to eligible homeowners for mortgage and housing-related expenses to avoid foreclosure or displacement from their homes. The PHFA is well-equipped to take on this responsibility as it has a deep understanding of Pennsylvania’s housing market and a broad network of mortgage lenders, community partners, and housing counseling agencies.

To facilitate a smooth transition, the PHFA has announced that it will temporarily pause the PAHAF program for new applicants effective February 1, 2023. This will allow the agency to prioritize processing current applications and determine the remaining funds available before reopening the program. However, new applications from homeowners in danger of losing their homes during the pause period will be prioritized and processed on a case-by-case basis by housing counseling agency partners.

The PHFA anticipates reopening the program for new applications once current applications have been addressed, and remaining funds have been assessed. As part of the transition, the third-party vendor responsible for partially disbursed applications will complete them by March 31, 2023, for audit and control purposes, while all other applications will be processed by the PHFA.

To meet the operational needs of the PAHAF program, the PHFA has updated its software system and increased call center operations. Current applicants need not start a new application, as documentation will automatically transfer to the new system. Applicants will be sent information on how to register with the new system and access their application status.

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The PHFA is using around 30 staff members for the PAHAF program and will adjust staffing levels as necessary. The agency is proactively communicating with various stakeholders, including program applicants and partners, to facilitate a smooth transition.

Pennsylvania was awarded $350 million to administer the program and disburse funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which aimed to prevent mortgage delinquencies, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. As a mission-driven agency, the PHFA remains committed to serving its constituents and providing aid to Pennsylvania homeowners.

Since its establishment in 1972, the PHFA has generated more than $16.9 billion in funding for more than 191,870 single-family home mortgage loans, helped fund the construction of 141,492 rental units, distributed approximately $239 million to support local housing initiatives, and saved the homes of more than 50,660 families from foreclosure. The agency’s programs and operations are funded mainly by the sale of securities and fees paid by program users, not by public tax dollars. It is governed by a 14-member board.

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