Governor Hochul announces applications are now accepted for the $ 539 million Homeowner Assistance Fund for eligible homeowners at risk of default, foreclosure or displacement
Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that applications are now accepted for the New York State Homeowners Assistance Fund (NYS HAF), a program that will provide up to $ 539 million in assistance or other direct aids to help eligible homeowners who are at risk of default, foreclosure or relocation due to financial hardship caused by the pandemic. New York was the first state in the country to receive approval from the US Department of the Treasury to launch its program.
“For many, buying a home is the greatest source of economic and social stability, and our Homeowners Assistance Fund – the first in the country to be approved – is an essential tool to help ease the pain of the pandemic disproportionately felt in rural communities, communities of color and immigrant communities ”, Governor Hochul said. “My administration will continue to support homeowners, renters and all New Yorkers every step of the way as we continue to recover the economy.”
RuthAnne Visnauskas, New York State Commissioner for Homes and Community Renewal, said: “What we do now to help our fellow New Yorkers keep their homes will impact communities and our state for generations to come by contributing to its vitality and building future successes. We cannot and will not stand idly by as property and economic gains are threatened in historically disadvantaged communities. Together with our partners in legal services and community housing agencies, we have designed the Homeowner Assistance Fund to help our at-risk families across the state regain financial stability.
Attorney General Letitia James said: “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the health and wallets of New Yorkers, it is critical that homeowners get the relief they need. The Homeowners Assistance Fund will go a long way in helping homeowners navigate this crisis, but it is imperative that these funds be used to support and not replace the mortgage industry’s own efforts to help struggling homeowners. With our new mortgage execution unit, my office will ensure that these funds go where they are needed and can protect as many homeowners as possible.
Designed and administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), NYS HAF targets low to moderate income homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments, property taxes, and water and sewer bills. The program is also open to owners of co-ops or condominium units who are behind on maintenance fees and to owners of manufactured homes behind on household loans, retail contracts or lot rents.
Applicants may receive financial assistance to make up for missed housing payments, to reduce mortgage debt to make monthly mortgage payments more affordable, and for unemployed homeowners, assistance of up to six months of future mortgage payments. lodging.
UNHCR is also working in partnership with the New York State Attorney General’s Mortgage Enforcement Unit to advocate with mortgage lenders and mortgage agents to ensure that homeowners receive all the relief available under the federal and state rules. This can include extended mortgage terms, deferral of missed payments or forbearance amounts and lower interest rates to reduce monthly payments.
The NYS HAF Call Center – 844-77-NYHAF (844-776-9423) – will operate Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to assist owners and provide essential program information and instructions on how to apply.
The NYS HAF website – www.nyhomeownerfund.org – understand Frequently Asked Questions, a step-by-step application guide, and one document checklist so applicants know what documents may be required to submit their application.
Last month, Governor Hochul announced the launch of the NYS HAF Program Website, an information call center and multilingual marketing campaign that helps educate homeowners about the program and ensure that all eligible New Yorkers, especially those from non-English speaking households, are ready and able to apply.
By reviewing previous state aid programs, UNHCR designed a more streamlined app to ensure the process is straightforward and easy for owners to navigate. The efficiencies include:
· Use of several industry standard third-party verification technologies that confirm applicant identification and / or ownership, and may limit the number of documents an owner must provide as part of their application.
· Allow the application to be started, paused and resumed later without losing data and information already entered.
· Accept signed attestations from candidates in order to minimize the number of documents they will have to submit.
To make the application process accessible to all owners and to help those with limited access to technology or limited fluency in English, UNHCR has taken the following steps:
Applicants may authorize a parent or other surrogate to submit an application on their behalf and continue to communicate directly with program staff to monitor the status of that application.
· NYS HAF has partnered with a network of over 70 housing advice and legal service providers to provide direct access to the online application portal and who will be able to submit multiple applications on behalf of their clients.
· Owners can contact the NYS HAF call center and apply by phone.
· The website and accompanying materials are available in English and ten additional languages: Arabic, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Yiddish, and Spanish.
· The online application is available in English, Arabic, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Hebrew and Spanish.
The call center can help you with language translations for any application
Since the program was announced in early December, UNHCR has mobilized an awareness and education campaign targeting vulnerable homeowners to ensure they understand the program and are ready to apply. This included mobilizing a team of 23 community organizations, spanning all regions of the state, to work with their target groups of at-risk homeowners. Areas of particular interest are those historically subject to housing discrimination, areas where landlords may have limited internet access, and communities where there is a high level of homeownership distress.
In addition, a statewide multilingual marketing campaign was created with the aim of reaching vulnerable homeowners in their own language through trusted media in communities where English is not. the main language.
The NYS HAF program is administered by Sustainable Neighborhoods LLC, a not-for-profit community development finance institution selected through competitive bidding. Sustainable Neighborhoods has extensive experience administering foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation programs statewide.
Sustainable Neighborhoods CEO / CEO Christie Peale said: “Thousands of low-income homeowners who have struggled financially because of COVID will now get the relief they desperately need, thanks to the New York State Homeowners Assistance Fund. Whether you live in a manufactured home, condominium, co-op, or single-family home, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible for assistance. It is urgent to help as many families as possible to keep their homes, despite the negative effects of the pandemic. We thank Governor Hochul for her leadership and dedication.