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 expenses due to COVID-19.
Eligible homeowners in North Carolina who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the approximately $273 million allocated to the state—up to $40,000 per household—from the North Carolina (NC) Homeowner Assistance Fund program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners in North Carolina make mortgage payments and pay other home-related costs.
The NC Homeowner Assistance Fund program offers the following kinds of assistance to eligible homeowners:
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. For example, eligible hardships include job loss, a reduction in income, or increased costs due to healthcare or the need to care for a family member.
In addition, you have to meet some other guidelines:
You don't necessarily need to be behind in your mortgage payments to be eligible. You might also qualify if you're current on your mortgage (or don't have a mortgage) but need help with other housing-related expenses, like homeowners' insurance, flood insurance, mortgage insurance, homeowners' association dues or fees, or delinquent property taxes.
Also, you can get assistance if you have a reverse mortgage and you've already entered into a repayment plan with your mortgage servicer and you meet all other eligibility criteria.
Assistance is structured as a grant that you don't have to repay. Only in cases of fraud or wrongful misrepresentation would an applicant have to repay the funds. Payments go directly to the loan servicer or other eligible third party, not to homeowners.
To apply for help from this program, go to the NC Homeowner Assistance Program website. You can then submit your application through the application portal. You may also apply by contacting the program's call center at 855-MY-NCHAF (855-696-2423).
You'll have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage statements, proof of income (such as pay stubs and tax returns), and a government-issued ID (like a driver's license). Click here for a complete list of documents you'll need to provide.
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 NC Homeowners Assistance Fund 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. If you experience fraud associated with this program, be sure to report it.
If you have questions or need more information, call 855-696-2423, complete an online contact form, or go to the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund program FAQs website. If you need help with your application, contact a HUD-approved housing counselor who will assist you at no cost. To find a counselor near you, go to HUD's website or call 800-569-4287.
Effective date: February 7, 2022