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.
Homeowners in Montana who've experienced a financial hardship because of COVID-19 can get a portion of the approximately $50 million allocated to the state by submitting an application to the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund program. This program uses federal money to help eligible homeowners make mortgage payments and pay other home-related costs, like property taxes, insurance, and utilities.
Assistance is in the form of a no-interest loan or a grant that you don't have to pay back.
You can use money from the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund program to pay for the following items, among others:
The amount you can get varies depending on what kind of assistance you receive. For example, you can get up to $50,000 in the form of a loan to reinstate a delinquent mortgage, $10,000 to pay off homeowners' association liens, or a $1,000 grant to pay overdue utilities.
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 COVID-19. You also have to meet additional guidelines, such as:
Some assistance, like for mortgage payments, is in the form of a 0% interest loan, which becomes due when your first mortgage ends or when you sell, refinance, or transfer the property. Other kinds of assistance, like paying overdue property taxes and utilities, are 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.
Go to the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund Program's application website to apply.
Be wary if you get an unsolicited offer by phone, mail, email, or text message offering mortgage relief or foreclosure rescue services. Scammers sometimes target 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.
To learn more about the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund program, read the official plan.
If you need help with the application process or have questions about the Montana Homeowner Assistance Fund program, 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.