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 around $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 Iowa who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a portion of the approximately $50 million allocated to the state—up to $25,000 per household—by applying to the Iowa Homeowner Assistance Fund program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners pay delinquent mortgage payments and other housing costs.
Again, qualifying homeowners can get one-time assistance of up to $25,000 (subsequent applications won't be accepted).
You can use assistance money from the Iowa Homeowner Assistance Fund program to pay:
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. A hardship that began before January 21, 2020, but continued after that date qualifies.
You also have to meet these guidelines.
Single-family properties, two- to four-unit dwellings (if you live in one unit as a primary residence), manufactured homes permanently affixed to real property and taxed as real property, and mobile homes not affixed to real property are eligible.
Assistance is in the form of a grant that you don't have to repay. Payments from the program go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.
Iowa's Homeowner Assistance Fund program is expected to open in the summer of 2022. Take a pre-screening quiz to see if you're eligible. If you pass the prescreening questionnaire and provide your email address, you'll receive a notification when the application process is available. To apply, you must go to iowafinance.com/IHAF.
You'll have to provide certain documents 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). So, in the meantime, start gathering these items and putting them in an electronic format, such as a pdf or jpg.
Be wary if you get an unsolicited offer by phone, mail, email, or text message offering mortgage relief or foreclosure rescue services. Scammers are increasingly targeting homeowners who've been affected by COVID-19. Homeowner Assistance Fund programs are free. If anyone asks you to pay a fee to get housing counseling or to receive foreclosure prevention services from this program, it's a scam.
If you have questions about the Iowa Homeowner Assistance Fund program, call 888-668-0927 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can get more information about the program by reading this factsheet.
To get free help with your application from a HUD-approved housing counselor, go to HUD's website or call 800-569-4287. Some applicants will be referred to free, confidential mortgage counseling through Iowa Mortgage Help before getting financial assistance through the Homeowner Assistance Fund program.
Effective date: Summer 2022