$90M in Mortgage Relief Available to Oregon Homeowners

Eligible homeowners in Oregon can get financial assistance to pay overdue and ongoing mortgage payments and other housing-related expenses.

By , Attorney · University of Denver Sturm College of Law

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 Oregon who've experienced a financial hardship because of COVID-19 can get a portion of the approximately $90 million allocated to the state—up to $60,000 per household—by applying to Oregon's Homeowner Assistance Fund program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners pay past-due and upcoming mortgage payments and other housing-related costs.

As of early 2024, as the program winds down, new applications will be accepted for homeowners in foreclosure or at imminent risk of loss.

What Is Covered By Oregon's Homeowner Assistance Fund Program?

The Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund has two programs: the past-due payment relief program and the ongoing payment relief program. If you qualify for both programs, you can get up to $60,000 in assistance.

Past-Due Payment Relief Program

The past-due payment relief program provides up to $50,000 to eliminate or reduce overdue balances for specific housing costs, like:

  • forbearance plans
  • mortgage payments
  • reverse mortgages
  • property taxes
  • homeowners' insurance
  • homeowners' association fees or condo owners' association dues
  • loans secured by manufactured homes and lot fees
  • loans secured by floating homes and moorage fees
  • land sale contracts
  • monthly maintenance fees for cooperative ownership housing, and
  • ground lease payments or land trust charges.

Ongoing Payment Relief Program

The ongoing payment relief program provides money to eligible homeowners to pay upcoming mortgage and housing expenses. This program has two "tracks."

  • Hardship track. If you qualify, you can get up to 12 months of payment assistance for eligible housing costs, though no more than $15,000 per household.
  • Stability track. If you qualify, you can get up to three months of payment assistance to pay housing costs, including mortgage payments (though no more than $3,750 total per household) to help increase your housing stability. To be eligible, you must be "housing cost burdened," which means your monthly housing costs are equal to or greater than 43% of your monthly gross income.

Eligibility Requirements for the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund Program

To qualify for relief from Oregon's Homeowner Assistance Fund 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. A hardship that started on or before that date and continued afterward qualifies.

You also must live in the home and be listed as a borrower on the mortgage or are the property's owner. In addition, you have to meet one of the following income limit conditions:

How Oregon's Homeowner Assistance Fund Program Works

Assistance is in the form of a five-year, 0%-interest, forgivable loan that's recorded as a junior lien on your property. After five years, the loan is forgiven. But if you sell the property or refinance it for cash within five years, you might have to repay the part of the loan that hasn't yet been forgiven, plus the county title recording fees. And the loan isn't forgivable if you commit fraud, provide false information, or fail to provide income or hardship documentation.

Payments from the program go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.

How to Apply to Oregon's Homeowner Assistance Fund Program

Go to the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund website to apply. You'll have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage statements and other paperwork to support your application. Review the program's document checklist to find out what you'll need to supply, read the factsheet to get details about the program, and download this process overview.

Homeowners in foreclosure first must work with a Homeowner Assistance Fund intake partner to evaluate their workout options and the possibility of submitting an application.

Avoid Homeowner Assistance Fund Scams

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.

You can report instances of fraud to Oregon Housing and Community Services using a form, available in English or Spanish.

Learn More About Oregon's Homeowner Assistance Fund Program

If you need help with the application process or have questions about Oregon's Homeowner Assistance Fund program, contact Oregon Housing and Community Services at 833-604-0879 or hcs.haf@hcs.oregon.gov. You can also contact a homeowner center and speak with a housing counselor. Also, review this application guide.

To learn more about this program and find out about different resources for homeowners, see the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund's "Resources" website. You can also sign up to receive emails about program updates.

Facing a Foreclosure in Oregon?

Even if a foreclosure has started, you might still have time to get assistance from Oregon's Homeowner Assistance Fund program. If you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan and your loan servicer learns that you've applied to a Homeowner Assistance Fund program, the servicer must suspend foreclosure activities for up to 60 days.

If you have questions about the foreclosure process in Oregon or want to learn about potential defenses to a foreclosure, consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer.