What does disaster unmet needs mean?
Unmet needs are all costs related to your recovery that were not covered by other resources.
By Murray Wennerlund published 8-27-2022 updated 9-4-2022
By Murray Wennerlund published 1-13-2022 updated 1-14-2022
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Homeowner Assistance Fund H.R.1319 - American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Sec. 3206.
Let's see if you are eligible for the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program managed by your state.
What the HAF can cover depending on your state managers for the program.
When will funds arrive?
If you are in arrears on your mortgage payment you are at risk of defaulting on your loan. The U.S. Treasury via Section 3206 of Public Law 117-2 is assisting your state in allocating and disbursing U.S. Taxpayer dollars to reduce or limit mortgage foreclosures.
The U.S. Treasury Department offers guidance to state officials but does not force them to use all of the guidance they provide. This is where you as community citizens need to voice your concerns. If the U.S. Treasury allows funds to be used to payoff a forbearance and your state only allows past due amounts to be paid off you need to make your comment to include the words "forbearance" in with "past due" so that a home "past due" (foreclosure) is assisted as well as the home that has had forbearance offered that may be impossible to repay due to continued financial issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most importantly for families that lost their main or highest source of income we need to make sure state government offer relief without delay. More often than not, a family will take on additional jobs to increase income when income is adversely impacting the family. The state will take all working age persons and combine their incomes to measure total household income. Some jobs taken may be seasonal or temporary and may not offer the long lasting security of the main household income earner had prior to the pandemic impacting that income. Be sure you understand the 30% and 40% of household income to housing expense. Your state will attempt to justify you earn enough to pay your bills without federal assistance. If you are able to pay your bills and your working hours are about the same then you are set. You can apply for relief funds that cover the period of time you were out of work or had to spend your retirement funds to stay solvent with your mortgage.
In this article I will start the process of sharing information on the appeals process and how to fight your state government on a federal policy and congressional level. Your state may actually be using HUD guidelines regarding income hardships and may omit things allowed by the IRS listed as cost of overhead for housing. Utilities to include internet is one example. You're going to be gathering up 3 months of bills to find your average. You may have reduced your consumption of water usage during the first year of the pandemic (2020) but increased your usage of electronics which increased your electric bill. You'll need to find 3 months during the peak of utility usage before your financial hardship occurred. Your tax returns, income W-2's or G-1099's are used to determine your income. Be sure you average your income if you are an independent contractor and use your adjusted income from your tax filings. The plan is not to penalize yourself by presenting 3 months of proof of income if those months are your highest earning months or the only months you work per year.
I will review with you the federal policy and as you submit your states plans I'll attempt to point out avenues of appeal. As more homeowners are denied mortgage relief I will add to this document and link to specific issues if additional information is needed to be shared. I'm doing this voluntarily and do not make any promise or claim that anything I provide will help you with your specific case.
How did the U.S. Treasury Department determine the amount of funds provided to states?
As printed in H.R. 1319 and signed into law.
2) <> For states. After the application of paragraphs (1), (4), and (5) of this subsection and subject to paragraph (3) of this subsection, the Secretary shall allocate the remaining funds available within the Homeowner Assistance Fund to each State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico based on homeowner need, for such State relative to all States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as of the date of the enactment of this Act, which is determined by reference to (A) the average number of unemployed individuals measured over a period of time not fewer than 3 months and not more than 12 months and (B) the total number of mortgagors with (i) mortgage payments that are more than 30 days past due or (ii) mortgages in foreclosure.
The above funding methodology would indicate that hardship was established by at least 2 factors. 1. Unemployment, 2. Missed payments.
Please read often the actual HAF Guidance as published by the U.S. Treasury Department. Your states Office of Community Development which follows HUD guidance may need to be reminded to include additional provisions. Keep in mind one thing, if you were counted and your state finds you ineligible and you do not appeal you just awarded your state your actual mortgage relief funds. I would say most U.S. Taxpayers do not know that allocated funds not used specifically for what their were originally allocated for goes to your state governors office to be added to your state funded programs and listed as income for the state even if the funds were originally allocated for your financial hardship. It's up to you to fight for your funds the U.S. Taxpayers are helping.
What is not clear but in the spirit of the policy and procedures mortgage holders would have had to contact their mortgage servicers before they were past due to make arrangements. All servicers were allowed to offer forbearance which would then trigger a reconsolidation or restructuring of the mortgage to cover when the mortgage holders could expect their payments. Under the forbearance which was not listed in the determination of the funding but implied by stating "more than 30 days past due" from the scheduled payment dates we understand you are past due even while you are in forbearance. Once your forbearance period ends or 30 days prior to that date your mortgage servicer would have contacted you to make arrangements on collecting the past due amounts. This activity could be accomplished in a single payment of all past due under the forbearance period or a schedule amount of increased payments per month or the mortgage servicer may have extended your mortgage term period.
How will your state manage the distribution of the federal program Homeowners Mortgage Assistance? (edited for formatting)
"(c) ESTABLISHMENT OF FUND.
(1) ESTABLISHMENT QUALIFIED EXPENSES. - There is established in the Department of the Treasury a Homeowner Assistance Fund to mitigate financial hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic by providing such funds as are appropriated by subsection (a) to eligible entities for the purpose of preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020, through qualified expenses related to mortgages and housing, which include -
As federal and state policy changes occur and when those that have discovered the changes report in I will update this page with any changes that will assist you in security this federal homeowner assistance. HUD hardship policy along with what the U.S. Treasury has posted will cover more than those currently being processed by states. Their appears to be no provision for states to return unallocated funds which means the states will profit from the U.S. Taxpayer if the money is not used. Let's do our best to make sure all eligible homeowners receive the financial assistance given to your state. (Less administrative costs which could be up to 15% of the total grant and / or $40 million.)