State officials have set up a “Texas Homeowners Assistance Fund” designed to help homeowners who have fallen behind on mortgage payments and other housing costs during the pandemic.
The program has about $700 million in federal funds available to help people catch up on mortgage payments, property taxes, mortgage insurance and HOA fees.
The money is distributed in the form of grants to eligible owners; it is not a loan that has to be repaid. A household can receive up to $40,000 for mortgage payment assistance and up to $25,000 for property taxes, homeowners insurance and HOA fees.
Prior to the statewide launch this week, two limited pilot programs were running. These programs have paid out over $5 million to date.
While rental assistance has been provided through a mix of state, county, and city programs, mortgage assistance is only available through the state program.
Applications are mainly taken online at texashomeownerassistance.com.
There are some restrictions. To be eligible, owners must:
- Living and Owning Your Home
- Have faced financial hardship due to the pandemic
- Earning an income equal to or less than the median income of their community
In 2021, Congress approved nearly $10 billion in mortgage relief funds as part of the Biden administration’s U.S. bailout. It was part of a strategy to head off a foreclosure crisis as the pandemic upended the economy. Texas received $842 million for its program and spent most of that money directly helping homeowners.
It took more than a year for Texas to receive its share of the funding and roll out its program across the state.
Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage on time were given the opportunity to register for mortgage forbearance. Forbearance prevents a bank from foreclosing an owner who is late on their payments. Any missed payment must always be refunded.
Financial assistance for tenants has been available since early 2021, although the state program has stopped taking apps because it lacks funds.
However, most of the state’s largest cities and counties still have rental assistance funds. Some, like Arlington, Austin and San Antonio are sold out.
Federal eviction protections for renters ended last summer, though a handful of cities and counties still have protections for renters in the age of the pandemic.
Do you have any advice? Christopher Connelly is KERA’s One Crisis Away reporter, exploring life on the edge of finance. Email Christopher at [email protected] You can follow Christopher on Twitter @hithisischris.
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