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 Colorado who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the $175 million allocated to the state by applying to the Colorado Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (Colorado EMAP). This program uses federal Homeowner Assistance Fund money to help homeowners get caught up on overdue housing payments to avoid foreclosure or make future mortgage payments.
Under Colorado's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, you can apply for money to pay up to three months' worth of delinquent or future housing payments. A maximum amount of money per household isn't set; the amount of funding you can get will be based on your needs. If you need more than three months of mortgage assistance, you'll have to talk to a housing counselor.
Assistance is structured as a grant that you don't have to repay.
Coloradans who've experienced pandemic-related hardships can apply for assistance. You must have suffered a financial hardship, such as a reduction in income or an increase in living expenses associated with the coronavirus pandemic after January 21, 2020. Also, you must:
To apply for help from this program, go to the Colorado Emergency Mortgage Relief Assistance Program website. You'll have to register and use Neighborly software (an online program) to apply for assistance. You'll also probably need to provide some documentation with your application, like tax returns, to verify your income.
Homeowner Assistance Fund programs are scheduled to continue until the earlier of September 30, 2026, or when all of the funds allotted to the program have been exhausted. Colorado plans to use all of its funds by September 30, 2025. If you think you might qualify, it's best to apply as soon as possible.
Even if the foreclosure process has started, it often takes several months before your home is foreclosed. You might still have time to get assistance from Colorado's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. Although, the Division of Housing officials will have to work with your lender to see if the foreclosure can be stopped. Or you might be able to work out an alternative to foreclosure with your loan servicer.
Call your loan servicer to ask about loss mitigation options. Homeowners with a federally backed mortgage loan can get a COVID-19 forbearance. (A "forbearance" is when your loan servicer or lender allows you to stop making your mortgage payments or reduce your payments for a limited time.) If FHA, USDA, or VA back your loan, you may request an initial forbearance as long as the COVID-19 National Emergency is in place. If Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backs your loan, a deadline isn't in place for requesting an initial COVID-19 forbearance. Even if your loan isn't federally backed, your servicer might offer a forbearance or another form of relief, like a waiver of late fees or a loan modification, if the COVID crisis has financially impacted you.
You might have to provide documentation indicating that you're ineligible for or have been denied a forbearance or aren't eligible for relief from your lender to get assistance from Colorado's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.
If you have questions about Colorado's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also get help from a HUD-approved housing counselor at no cost. To find a counselor near you, go to HUD's website or call 800-569-4287.
If you have questions about the foreclosure process in Colorado or want to learn about potential defenses to a foreclosure, consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer.
Effective date: November 1, 2021.