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 $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 Texas who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the approximately $842 million allocated to the state—possibly up to $40,000 per household, depending on the circumstances—from the Texas Homeowners Assistance Fund (TXHAF) program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners get caught up on overdue mortgage payments and other home-related costs.
Available Financial Help for Texas Homeowners
The TXHAF program offers the following kinds of assistance to eligible homeowners.
Mortgage payments. Eligible homeowners in Texas can get money to pay delinquent mortgage payments, including amounts that the servicer has advanced. If you qualify for mortgage assistance from the TXHAF program but can't afford to continue making your monthly mortgage payments going forward, the program will work with your loan servicer and put money toward getting you a loan modification. The maximum you can get for mortgage payments is $40,000 per household.
To qualify for relief from the TXHAF 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.
In addition, you have to meet some other criteria.
The home must be located in Texas.
You must be behind on your mortgage, property taxes, homeowners' insurance, or HOA/condo association fees.
The property can be a single-family (attached or detached) home, condo, one- to four-unit property (if you, the property owner, live in a unit as your primary residence), manufactured home that's permanently affixed to real property and taxed as such, or mobile home that isn't permanently affixed to real property.
Your household income must be equal to or less than 100% of the area median income or 100% of the median income for the United States, whichever is greater.
How to Apply for Assistance From the TXHAF Program
Go to the TXHAF website's application portal to apply for help from this program. You'll have to create an account and provide some 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), proof of occupancy, and a government-issued ID (like a driver's license).
After you apply, you can log in to your account to check your application's status. If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision within 30 days.
How the TXHAF Program Works
Assistance is structured as a grant that you don't have to repay. Payments go directly to the loan servicer or other eligible third party, not to homeowners.
Avoid Homeowner Assistance Fund Scams
If you get an unsolicited offer by phone, in the U.S. 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. The TXHAF program is 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.