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 New Hampshire who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the approximately $50 million allocated to the state from its Homeowner Assistance Fund program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners make mortgage payments and pay other home-related costs, like homeowners' insurance, homeowners' association fees, property taxes, and utility bills.
What Housing Costs Are Covered and How Much Can I Get?
You can use money from the New Hampshire Homeowner Assistance Fund program to pay:
other property charges, like overdue property taxes, homeowners' insurance, homeowners association or condominium fees, co-op maintenance, and lot rents (up to $20,000), and
utility costs (electricity, gas, and heating fuel) and internet payments (up to $3,000).
Eligibility Requirements for New Hampshire's Homeowner Assistance Fund Program
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 started before this date, but continued afterward, is eligible.
You must own and occupy the property as your primary residence. Single-family homes (attached or detached), condos, one- to four-unit properties if you're living in one as your primary residence, manufactured/modular housing permanently affixed to real property and taxed as such, and manufactured homes not permanently affixed to real property but with a Title Certificate or Statement of Ownership in the homeowner's name are eligible. Second homes, investment properties, and vacant properties don't qualify.
How New Hampshire's Homeowner Assistance Fund Program Works
If you get less than $5,000, the assistance is structured as a nonrecourse grant that you don't have to repay. If you get assistance equal to or more than $5,000, it will be structured as a two-year, non-interest bearing, non-amortizing, forgivable loan. You'll have to sign a mortgage and promissory note. But you only have to repay the money if you sell the home, do a cash-out refinance, or transfer the property's ownership. If none of these events happen within two years, the loan is fully forgiven, and the note and mortgage will be released.
Payments from the program go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.
How to Apply for Assistance in New Hampshire
Apply online through the Home Help NH website. You'll probably have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage statements or statements for your other housing-related costs, and proof of income, such as pay stubs and tax returns.
How Long Will New Hampshire's Homeowner Assistance Fund ProgramLast?
The program is expected to be available through at least 2022 but could close earlier if the allocated money runs out. So, if you think you might qualify for assistance, it's best to apply as soon as possible.
Avoid Homeowner Assistance Fund Scams
If you get an unsolicited offer by phone, mail, email, or text message offering mortgage relief or foreclosure rescue services, be wary. 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 become aware of a scam, be sure to report it.
Learn More About New Hampshire's Homeowner Assistance Fund Program