$350M Available to Pennsylvania Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Learn about Pennsylvania’s new COVID mortgage-relief program. You might be eligible for up to $30,000.

By , Attorney

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 Pennsylvania who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the $350 million allocated to the state from the Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF) program. This program uses federal money to help Pennsylvania homeowners make mortgage payments and pay other housing-related expenses so they can avoid foreclosure.

Help for Pennsylvania Homeowners Under the PAHAF Program

You can apply to the PAHAF program to get money to pay the following home-related expenses.

  • Mortgage reinstatement. You can get up to the lesser of $30,000 or 24 months of assistance to reinstate a first mortgage (bring it current) and pay other housing-related costs, like property taxes and homeowners' insurance, if escrowed.
  • Future mortgage payments. You might qualify for funding to pay upcoming mortgage payments for as many as six months, subject to the program cap of $30,000 or 24 months. This program is only available to homeowners who also qualify for mortgage reinstatement assistance.
  • Past-due charges that put property ownership at risk. You might be eligible to get money to cover overdue property taxes, reverse mortgage insurance premiums, homeowners' association (HOA) fees, condominium fees, or other common charges. If you qualify, you can receive $5,000 for delinquent property taxes, $3,000 for insurance premiums, and $5,000 for delinquent HOA or condominium fees. The maximum you can get is subject to the program limit of $30,000 or 24 months.
  • Delinquent utilities. You could get funds to pay delinquent utility bills if you're facing an imminent disconnection, lien, foreclosure, or potential displacement. This assistance is available along with loan reinstatement and mortgage payment assistance or as a standalone option for homeowners who don't have a mortgage (maximum utility assistance is capped at 24 months or $3,000).

Eligibility Requirements for the PAHAF Program

To qualify for relief from this program, you must have suffered a material reduction in income or an increase in living expenses after January 21, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic. A hardship that began before January 21, 2020, and continued after that date also qualifies.

You must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must own the Pennsylvania home for which you're seeking assistance and live in it as your primary residence.
  • Your total annual household income must be equal to or less than 150% of the area median income, with homeowners who have the lowest household incomes, as well as those who are socially disadvantaged, receiving priority for assistance.
  • Your first mortgage must be a conforming loan that meets the federal limits for the year in which you took out the loan. (Conforming loans are eligible for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to purchase from lenders.)

Also, you can't get the same assistance for a mortgage reinstatement or future payments, property charges, or utility payments from another federal, state, local, nonprofit, or tribal source.

How the Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund Program Works

Assistance is structured as a grant that you don't have to repay. PAHAF assistance will be sent directly to mortgage servicers, utility providers, taxing authorities, or approved service providers.

How to Apply for the Pennsylvania COVID Relief Program

PAHAF will start accepting applications on February 1, 2022. You'll have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage statements, income documentation (such as pay stubs or tax returns), and a government-issued ID (like a driver's license). For a complete list of the items you'll need, go here.

You can register for email updates about the program on the PAHAF website.

How Long Will Pennsylvania's COVID Relief Program Last?

The PAHAF 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.

Avoid Homeowner Assistance Fund Scams

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 PAHAF 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.

Learn More

To learn more, see the program's Frequently Asked Questions section. If you need help with the application process, contact the PAHAF program at 888-987-2423. You may also get help from a HUD-approved housing counselor at no cost. To find a counselor near you, go to the PAHAF website or HUD's website or call 800-569-4287.

If you have questions about the foreclosure process in Pennsylvania or want to learn about potential defenses to a foreclosure, consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer.

Effective date: February 1, 2022