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 South Dakota who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the approximately $50 million allocated to the state from the SD CARES Housing Assistance Program. This program uses federal money to give loans to homeowners to make mortgage payments and grants to pay utility costs.
Specifically, you can use money from the SD CARES Housing Assistance 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, or have qualified for unemployment benefits) after January 21, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
You also have to meet these guidelines:
Assistance for mortgage payments and other related costs is structured as a 0% interest loan, with no payments due, which must be repaid when you sell, refinance, or transfer ownership of the property, or when the home is no longer your primary residence. Utility assistance is a grant, which you don't have to repay.
Payments from the program go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.
Apply online or with your smartphone through the SD Cares Housing Assistance Program Application website. You'll have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage information or utility bills, proof of income, such as pay stubs and tax returns, and photo identification (a driver's license or state/tribally-issued identification).
If you need help with your application, South Dakota has the following partner agencies that can assist you:
Even if a foreclosure has started, you might still have time to get assistance from the SD CARES Housing Assistance Program. Though, if financial assistance from the program is unlikely to prevent a foreclosure, you probably won't qualify for help from it.
Also, you might have time to work out an alternative to foreclosure with your loan servicer. For instance, homeowners with a federally backed mortgage loan can get a COVID-19 forbearance while the national emergency declaration is in place. If your loan isn't federally backed, your servicer might offer a forbearance or another form of relief, like a loan modification, if the COVID crisis has financially impacted you. Most eligible homeowners in South Dakota who apply for mortgage help through the SD CARES Housing Assistance Program will be required to complete loss mitigation efforts with their loan servicer before getting assistance money.
If you're currently in a forbearance that hasn't expired, you aren't eligible for the SD CARES Housing Assistance Program because you're not at risk of foreclosure. But if your forbearance has ended or will end soon, and your servicer denied you a loss mitigation option for resolving the amount you were delinquent when your forbearance expired, then you can apply for assistance from this program.
If you get an unsolicited offer by phone, in the 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. 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 or need help with your application, call 605-773-3181, dial 2-1-1, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also review the program's FAQs.
Effective date: March 28, 2022