$180M Available to Massachusetts Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

If the COVID-19 pandemic has affected you financially, you might qualify for help from the Massachusetts Homeowner Assistance Fund (Mass HAF) Program.

By , Attorney

In the first part of 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. This law created a Homeowner Assistance Fund to provide $10 billion to the states to help struggling homeowners catch up on mortgage payments, utility costs, past-due property taxes, and other housing-related expenses.

Eligible homeowners in Massachusetts affected by COVID-19 can apply for some of the $180 million the state received. Through the Massachusetts Homeowner Assistance Fund (Mass HAF) Program, you might qualify for financial assistance to pay overdue mortgage payments and other housing costs.

Available Help From the Mass HAF Program

Under the Mass HAF Program, you can apply for money to pay the following home-related expenses:

  • mortgage loan principal and interest
  • homeowners' association (or condominium owners' association) fees
  • property taxes, and
  • homeowners' insurance.

This program can also pay for past-due mobile home loan payments and eligible utilities. You might qualify for additional assistance if you need to clear a lien as a condition of reinstating your mortgage. But you can't get help with future expenses.

Eligibility Criteria for Mass HAF Program Assistance

To qualify for financial assistance from the Mass HAF Program, you must have been financially impacted by COVID-19, meaning you've lost income or have increased living expenses because of the pandemic. For instance, a job loss, reduced work hours, increased costs due to childcare, an illness, or the need to care for a family member since January 21, 2020, qualify.

Your hardship may have begun before January 21, 2020, and continued after that date, but only costs accrued after January 21, 2020, are eligible for Mass HAF payments. Also, you must, at the time of application:

  • have an income equal to or less than 150% of the area median income
  • own and occupy a single-family home, condominium, or two-, three-, or four-family home located in Massachusetts that's your primary residence
  • be behind on their mortgage payments by at least 90 days (three months), and
  • have a mortgage loan that, at the time of origination, had a principal balance not more than the Fannie Mae conforming loan limit as determined by property type, such as a single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family dwelling.

To find out if you qualify, take this quiz.

How Mass HAF Assistance Works

Mass HAF assistance is in the form of a grant, which you don't have to repay. The money will go directly to your lender or loan servicer to cover mortgage payments, and to the municipality, insurance company, or homeowner's association (or condominium owners' association) for any eligible tax, insurance, or association fees.

What Documentation You'll Need for the Application

To apply, you'll need to provide some documents, like:

  • documentation showing your income (pay stubs, W2s, or other wage statements, IRS Form 1099s, tax filings, bank statements, or a statement of income from an employer)
  • Social Security, child support, unemployment, and other income statements as applicable
  • mortgage statements or other mortgage documents
  • property tax statements from your city or town
  • utility bills (for utilities that prevent loan reinstatement), and
  • identification, such as a state ID, driver's license, or passport.

How to Apply for Mass HAF Assistance

Go to the Mass HAF website to apply. If you need help applying for Mass HAF assistance or want to learn more about different forms of mortgage relief, contact a HUD-approved housing counselor who will help you at no cost. If you're facing imminent foreclosure or need information about how the foreclosure process works in Massachusetts (and possible defenses), contact a foreclosure attorney.

Effective date: December 27, 2021