In early 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. This law created a Homeowner Assistance Fund, a federal program, to give $10 billion to the states to help households that are behind on their mortgages and other housing-related expenses due to COVID-19.
Eligible homeowners in Tennessee who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the $168 million allocated to the state—up to $40,000 per household—from the Tennessee Homeowner Assistance Fund (TNHAF) program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners in Tennessee make mortgage payments so they can avoid foreclosure, as well as pay other housing-related expenses like delinquent property taxes, homeowners' association fees, and insurance.
The TNHAF program offers three kinds of assistance to eligible homeowners:
You need to specify what kind of assistance you need during the application process. After your application is approved, the underwriter will determine the type of assistance for which you qualify. If you qualify, the money can be applied to:
To qualify for relief from this program, you must have suffered a financial hardship (a material reduction in income or an increase in living expenses) after January 21, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic. You must also currently own and occupy the property as your primary residence, and your annual household income must be less than $119,850.00.
In addition, you'll probably have to meet some other guidelines.
Assistance is structured as a forgivable grant that you don't have to repay. TNHAF payments go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.
Once your application is approved, you'll need to take a homeowner education course, which explains various options for loss mitigation and budgeting, among other things, that might help you determine what option is best for your specific situation.
To apply for help from this program, go to the Tennessee Homeowner Assistance Fund program website and click on the designated button to access the application portal. You'll have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage statements, proof of income (such as pay stubs or tax returns), and a government-issued ID (like a driver's license).
If your application is denied, you may appeal the decision within 30 days.
The program will continue until the earlier of September 30, 2026, or when all of the funds allotted to the program have been exhausted. If you think you might qualify, it's best to apply as soon as possible.
If you get an unsolicited offer by phone, in the U.S. mail, through email, or by text message offering mortgage relief or foreclosure rescue services, be wary. Scammers are increasingly targeting homeowners who've been affected by COVID-19. The TNHAF program is free. If anyone asks you to pay a fee to get housing counseling or foreclosure prevention services from this program, it's a scam.
Call 855-890-8073 or go to the TNHAF website if you need more information.
Effective date: January 10, 2022