A $50 million program now offers free assistance to Maine homeowners facing financial hardships. In May, the US Treasury Department funded Maine’s implementation of the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), a federal program enabled by the American Recovery Act.
Under the program, a “financial hardship” is a material reduction of income or increase in housing expenses arising since January 1, 2020. Maine HAF can provide eligible households with up to $25,000 in assistance.The State has put no deadline on applications, but funds will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all the funds are used.
Applicants well above poverty level may qualify for this assistance. The income ceiling for this program is the U.S. median income level. By that standard, the income limit for most local families would be $90,000 per year. HAF funds can be used for a number of purposes, including:
- Past-due mortgage payments
- Reinstating a mortgage, or other housing costs related to forbearance, delinquency or default
- Paying off past-due homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, and mortgage insurance
- Utility payments, including electric, gas, sewage and water bills that are past due
- Past due amounts for internet services, including broadband internet access service;
- Past-due manufactured home loan debt
Applicants can qualify for assistance with other household costs, even if they do not need help with mortgage-related costs. Nor is unemployment a requirement for application. Homeowners may apply online at https://haf.maine.gov. It is also possible to apply by phone with certain county action programs (CAPs):
Aroostook County Action Program: (ACAP): (207) 764-3721
Penquis CAP: (800) 215-4942
Washington County residents must either apply online or through Penquis CAP.
More details on the Maine Homeowner Assistance Fund are available online at https:/haf.maine.gov or by calling the CAP agencies listed above.