Federal relief funds totaling $66 million are available to homeowners who are delinquent in mortgage payments as a result of financial hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Utah Department of Workforce Services announced Monday.
Applications are now open for eligible homeowners.
The Homeowners Assistance Fund will first be available for those with an income equal to or less than 100% of the area median income, or AMI, for the county in which the household resides or 100% of AMI for the United States, with priority going to those facing immediate foreclosure.
A U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released in August by ATTOM, a curator of nationwide property data, revealed a total of 34,501 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings.
Such filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions, are reportedly up 118% from one year ago.
Rick Sharga, ATTOM’s executive vice president of market intelligence, said foreclosure starts have nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels following massive government intervention and mortgage industry efforts to prevent defaults.
Foreclosures in Utah rose by 128.6%, from 447 in the first six months of 2021 to 1,022 in the first half of 2022, according to ATTOM figures.
Department of Workforce Services Deputy Director Nate McDonald said there is nothing more important than helping Utahns facing economic uncertainty remain in their homes.
In an attempt to run the Homeowners Assistance Fund program smoothly, DWS is asking that only those who meet the eligibility criteria as well as being delinquent in payments apply so as to prevent an overabundance of ineligible applications, which could affect the system.
“We want to make sure these funds go to those truly in need and in danger of losing their home,” McDonald said.
To be eligible, applicants will need to have experienced a documented financial hardship associated with COVID-19 after Jan. 1, 2020, and own the Utah property for which they are requesting assistance.
Any relevant documentation such as a recent mortgage statement, a demand letter or foreclosure notice, income documentation and government issued identification is being requested to expedite the application process.
Approved applicants will be required to participate in either homeowner counseling or a homeowner education program.
Applications will remain open until Nov. 7. For more information on the program and a prescreening questionnaire to help determine eligibility, visit homeownerassisstance.utah.gov.