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 West Virginia who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a portion of the millions of dollars allocated to the state from the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners make mortgage payments and pay other home-related costs, like utilities, insurance, and property taxes.
What Housing Costs Are Covered Under the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program
You can use money from the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program to pay:
delinquent mortgage payments and, in some cases, upcoming mortgage payments, including property taxes, homeowners' insurance premiums, flood or wind insurance premiums, ground rents, condominium fees, cooperative maintenance fees, planned unit development fees, and homeowners' association fees that are included in your mortgage payment (up to $15,000)
overdue utility bills, including electric, gas, home energy, water, and sewer (up to $2,500)
past-due property taxes, homeowners' insurance premiums, flood or wind insurance premiums, ground rents, condominium fees, cooperative maintenance fees, planned unit development fees, and homeowners' association fees not included in your monthly mortgage payment (up to $5,000)
overdue internet bills ($300), and
some kinds of downpayment loans, like down payment assistance loans that a government entity or nonprofit provided ($500).
You don't have to have a mortgage on your home to get help with utilities, internet, property taxes, insurance, and other housing expenses. But expenses you've already paid aren't eligible for reimbursement. And you can't get money to pay expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal, state, or local assistance program.
Eligibility Requirements for the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue 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 January 21, 2020, and continued after that date qualifies. You also have to meet these guidelines:
Your property must be a single-family home (attached or detached), a one- to four-unit dwelling (if you live in one of the units), condominium, townhouse, modular, or manufactured home (double or single-wide home affixed or unaffixed to real property).
At the time of origination, the original, unpaid principal balance of your first mortgage or housing loan can't be greater than the conforming loan limit in effect when you got the loan.
How the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program Works
Assistance is structured as a nonrecourse grant that you don't have to repay. Payments from the program go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.
How to Apply for the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program
Submit your application online using the program's application portal. If you can't apply online, you can get a paper application by calling844-542-0035 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You'll have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage statements or statements showing your other housing-related costs, proof of income, such as pay stubs and tax returns, and proof of ownership and residency. Click here for a complete list of the documents you'll need.
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.
Learn More About the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program
If you need help with the application process or have questions about the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program, call 211, 844-542-0035 or use the virtual agent at the bottom of each application page. Also, review the program's FAQs.