Wyoming To Begin Offering Mortgage Assistance in May
The Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) will begin the Homeowner Assistance Fund Program on May 2 after a trial period ended in February. The $50 million in funding for the program comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which is different from the funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
According to Corrine Livers, the DFS’s Economic Security Programs Administrator, the pilot program’s maximum award was $15,000.00, but it was boosted to an amount that made sense based on the data they gathered.
“We do work with a steering committee and a policy group, and it really was a decision based off of what the delinquency seemed to be during the pilot versus what we could do the most good for in regards to how many families we could serve,” Livers said. “It really felt like it was in that middle ground between being able to bring a majority of loans whole. Understanding though as we move along in the process, if people continue to not make their payments, they’re going to continue to get more delinquent. There isn’t going to be a timeframe that can be perfect, this is what was estimated to be the best.”
The HAF Program will help Wyoming homeowners delinquent on mortgage payments who also may need help with past due payments for utilities, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and homeowners association dues. It will also assist homeowners who own their homes outright or have reverse mortgages but need assistance with utilities, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and homeowners association dues that are past due. The maximum amount allowed per household is $17,000.00, which will be paid directly to servicers, county treasurers, insurance, and utility companies. on behalf of the homeowner.
While the HAF will assist clients with delinquent payments, Livers noted that if the amount owed exceeds what DFS can supply, DFS will ensure that customers speak with housing educators first.
“We’ve got some things built into the process to ensure people are talking to housing educators,” Livers said. “Within the policy, if somebody is delinquent more than they can pay, so they’re delinquent more than $17,000, or they indicate they cannot make payments after assistance, they are going to be required to talk to a housing educator prior to payments being made on their behalf. This ensures that they’re making the best decision for that family.”
According to Korin Schmidt, DFS Director: “We highly encourage homeowners delinquent on their mortgage payments to talk to their mortgage servicer before the program opens,” Schmidt said. “Homeowners should consider all options available to allow them to stay in their homes safely and long term. If you receive HAF funds first, you might not be eligible for options like having your monthly payment lowered.”
For the Wyoming Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) Program, Wyoming homeowners must meet the following requirements:
- Must own a property in Wyoming.
- Must currently occupy the property as the primary residence.
- Must have a total annual household income at or below 150% of the area median income.
- After January 21, 2020, the household must have experienced a COVID-related financial difficulty that caused the household to become past due.
- Must be delinquent by at least one payment, including due to a forbearance period. The grant covers arrears only (no prospective or ongoing payments).
- The loan must be the first lien on the property when asking for mortgage assistance. Within six months of getting aid, the homeowner must not intend to sell the property.