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 Florida who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the approximately $676 million allocated to the state—up to $50,000 per household—from Florida's Homeowner Assistance Fund program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners make mortgage payments and pay other home-related costs.
Again, Florida's Homeowner Assistance Fund program offers up to $50,000 per household. This money can be used to cover mortgage payments (principal, interest, late fees, and charges for first mortgages and subordinate mortgages), escrow payments, property taxes, homeowners' insurance, utilities (including electric, gas, home heating oil, water, sewer, and internet), flood insurance, and homeowners' association fees.
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. In addition, you have to meet these qualifications:
Eligible types of properties include:
Second homes, investment properties, and vacant properties don't qualify.
Assistance is structured as a nonrecourse grant that you don't have to repay. Payments go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.
Go here to complete your registration and apply. You'll probably have to provide supporting documentation with your application, like mortgage statements or statements for your other housing-related costs, proof of income (such as pay stubs and tax returns), and an attestation describing the nature of your financial hardship.
Be wary if you get an unsolicited offer by phone, in the U.S. 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 kind of program, it's a scam.
If you have questions or need help with your application, call 833-987-8997 or email HomeownerAssistanceFund@DEO.MyFlorida.com. You may also get help from 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.
Effective date: March 2, 2022