March 2, 2021

Bucks Blog: Deadline Extended for Mortgage Help

The federal government has extended the deadline until Sept. 15 for strapped homeowners in 27 states to apply for emergency help.

Initially, the Department of Housing and Urban Development had set a July 27 deadline for the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program, to ensure that funds could be distributed by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. But the deadline was extended a second time to give people more time to apply. Instructions on how to apply can be found here.

The program offers “bridge” loans to homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgages due to a job loss or medical problem. (Homeowners must be at least three months behind on their mortgages.) Eligible homeowners can receive financial help to pay their mortgage for up to two years, or up to $50,000, whichever comes first. The loans do not have to be repaid, as long as the homeowner continues making mortgage payments on time for five years.

The $1 billion program was expected to help 20,000 to 30,000 distressed homeowners. An estimated 84,000 people sent in preliminary applications, and 40,000 of those passed the initial eligibility screening, said a housing department spokesman, Brian Sullivan.

But to receive final approval for assistance, applicants must provide detailed documentation of their need, like a letter of termination from an employer and a notice of delinquency from the lender.

The emergency program is available in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The program aims to offer aid to homeowners in states ineligible for the larger, $7.6 billion “hardest hit” fund, which provided assistance to 18 states and the District of Columbia that absorbed the worst of the housing crisis. Those 18 states were Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.

In addition, five other states have similar programs of their own: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. About 11,000 applications were received in those states, with about 3,000 approved as of the end of August, according to the housing department.

Have you applied for assistance under the program? Let us know about your experience.

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