NEW CARROLLTON (May 25, 2023) — The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has helped more than 11,000 homeowners behind on housing-related payments, including 6,000 who were facing foreclosure, stay in their homes since the Homeowner Assistance Fund program launched in March 2021. The Department has expanded the program to add an additional option for mortgage servicers to provide eligible homeowners with relief as interest rates have risen and affected the affordability of some loan modifications. The program now is able to fund up to six months of forward payments for eligible applicants, and is estimated to help more than 1,000 additional Marylanders.
“The department has quickly adapted the Homeowner Assistance Program to extend its reach given new housing market conditions that didn’t exist when the program started,” said Jake Day, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. “This assistance supports long-term, sustainable solutions for homeowners who are still dealing with the aftereffects of pandemic-related hardships.”
The Homeowner Assistance Fund offers legal assistance, loan modifications with payment of delinquent mortgages, grants to avoid displacement due to property taxes, association and water and sewer fees, and other housing related costs. So far, the program has provided more than $125 million to eligible homeowners, with an average of $17,100 of assistance for each household.
One such homeowner, a Bowie resident, was days away from foreclosure and shared their story on working with the Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund.
“If it were not for DHCD and its Homeowners Assistance Fund team, I would have lost my home to foreclosure,” the resident wrote to the Department. “I was in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and fell behind on mortgage payments due to COVID-related income reduction. I had consultations with two lawyers and they both informed me that time was not on my side and to try to sell my house as quickly as possible so I could get some equity out of it, but they were even pessimistic about that. I'm a single parent and was very scared of how losing my home would impact my 12-year-old daughter. My home was about 7 days away from a foreclosure sale when HAF stepped in and processed my application. The foreclosure sale was canceled two days later and my loan was reinstated. HAF also paid for my water bill arrears! Shout out to HAF for having such amazing staff!”
No additional application is required to be considered for the new forward payment option, and the Department is also reviewing past applications to determine if those homeowners would be eligible for the forward payment option and reaching out to them to offer assistance. For more detailed information on eligibility and to apply for assistance, go to homeownerassistance.maryland.gov.
The HAF program was established by the American Rescue Plan Act enacted in 2021 to help homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Developm?ent was awarded a total of $248 million to administer through the program.