Get Foreclosure Relief From State Hardest Hit Fund Programs

Check out the chart below to find out if you live in a state that has an open Hardest Hit Fund program.

By , Attorney (University of Denver Sturm College of Law)

Legal Update: On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. Part of this law creates a Homeowner Assistance Fund to provide $10 billion to the states to help struggling homeowners catch up on mortgage payments, utility costs, and other housing-related expenses.

Homeowner Assistance Fund programs have replaced Hardest Hit Fund programs in most states. The Homeowner Assistance Fund plan expands the Hardest Hit Fund model by providing federal aid to potentially all states to help homeowners stay in their homes. To find out about the Homeowner Assistance Fund program in your state, check our 2021 Foreclosure Legal Updates and 2022 Foreclosure Legal Updates pages.

Most Homeowner Assistance Fund programs are scheduled to last for a couple of years or until allocated funds run out.

In February 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury created the Hardest Hit Fund to provide millions of dollars to 18 states and the District of Columbia to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. These states (and D.C.) each developed their own programs, which were administered by the state's housing finance agency, to distribute the funds and assist distressed homeowners. The programs provided various foreclosure avoidance options to homeowners, like mortgage payment assistance, reinstatement assistance, and second mortgage payoffs.

While the states had until the end of 2020 to utilize their Hardest Hit funds, some states ended their programs early because their allocated money ran out. In other states, programs remained open or reopened to help homeowners affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In the chart below, you can learn which programs are open, though not many are.

If you think you might be eligible for a particular program that's still available, it's a good idea to apply for assistance soon as possible before the money runs out.

States That Received Hardest Hit Funds

The states that received funds and set up Hardest Hit Fund programs are Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C.

Are Hardest Hit Fund Programs Still Open?

Individual Hardest Hit Fund programs are likely to end as soon as their funds run out. Most have already shuttered. So, if you think you could qualify for a particular type of assistance through a specific program, you should submit an application immediately.

A few states that previously closed their Hardest Hit Fund programs when their funding ran out reopened when more money became available. If your state's program has closed, it's a good idea to keep tabs on the program website in case it reopens, most likely to help homeowners affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Types of Available Assistance

With the provided funds, each state and the District of Columbia developed programs to help homeowners facing foreclosure. Generally, the programs involve:

  • mortgage payment assistance for unemployed or underemployed homeowners
  • principal reductions to help homeowners get more affordable mortgages
  • reinstatement assistance (money to bring a delinquent mortgage current with a one-time payment), and
  • providing money to eliminate homeowners' second lien loans.

Programs often change, so check your state's official website to find out what's available.

    How Assistance Generally Works

    The homeowner typically receives assistance in the form of a 0% interest loan that is paid directly to the servicer. The loan is typically forgivable over a specified time period—meaning the homeowner won't have to repay it, so long as certain conditions are met—usually at a rate of 20% over five years.

    Get Help From a Housing Counselor

    Housing counseling is sometimes available through state programs at no cost, although homeowners in all states are eligible to get free help from a HUD-approved housing counselor.

    Who Qualifies for Hardest Hit Fund Foreclosure Assistance?

    Eligibility requirements vary widely from state to state and among different state-specific programs. But the requirements often include the following:

    • The property must be owner-occupied.
    • The homeowner must be unemployed/underemployed or experienced a hardship, like a divorce, death of a spouse, or medical hardship.
    • The homeowner's total annual income must be less than a certain amount.
    • The homeowner has limited financial resources.
    • The unpaid principal balance on the homeowner's mortgage can't exceed a certain amount.

    Hardest Hit Fund Programs By State

    State Are Programs Open? Type of Available Assistance Basic Eligibility Requirements Maximum Amount of Assistance State's Official Hardest Hit Fund Website

    No, closed to new applicants as of March 12, 2021.

    n/a n/a n/a
    Arizona Closed to new applications.



    California No n/a n/a n/a
    Florida No n/a n/a n/a
    Georgia No



    Illinois No n/a n/a n/a
    Indiana No, applications are no longer being accepted for mortgage assistance from Indiana's Hardest Hit Fund.



    Kentucky No, but free financial counseling is available and some Kentuckians are eligible for free legal advice. n/a n/a n/a
    Michigan No



    Mississippi No n/a


    Nevada No, the program has suspended accepting new applications. n/a


    New Jersey No n/a n/a n/a
    North Carolina No, but free housing counseling is available and you might qualify for legal assistance if your income is low. n/a n/a n/a
    Ohio No n/a n/a n/a
    Oregon No, the mortgage relief program is now closed and not accepting any new applications.



    Rhode Island No n/a n/a n/a
    South Carolina No n/a n/a n/a
    Tennessee No n/a


    Washington, D.C. Yes In an effort to support District residents during the coronavirus pandemic, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) still offers some programs. See program website for details. See program website for details.

    Getting More Information

    Hardest Hit Fund programs change frequently, and determining whether you're eligible for a particular program can be a complicated process. Check your state's official website for updates and details about the application process. Additionally, you should be aware that not all lenders participate in every program.

    If you have additional questions about the Hardest Hit Fund, make an appointment to talk with a HUD-approved housing counselor or call the phone number provided on the state's official Hardest Hit Fund website. If you need information about how foreclosure works in your state or possible defenses to a foreclosure in your situation, check out our sections on alternatives to foreclosure and fighting foreclosure in court, or consider talking to a foreclosure attorney.

    Updated July 13, 2021

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