New York is the first state in the nation to announce a new housing relief program that is aimed to assist low-to-moderate homeowners to prevent foreclosure on their houses because of the negative impacts from the Coronavirus pandemic.

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In a press conference, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the new Homeowners Assistance Fund, otherwise known as HAF, and is making $539 million in federal funds available to help eligible homeowners stop mortgage delinquency, default, foreclosure, and potential eviction.

The state is setting up a website for people to apply, along with a call center, and partnering with more than 70 non-profit organizations across the state to help educate homeowners on the program and submit an application if they believe they are eligible.

Many New Yorkers are still recovering from the pandemic, and just like we did for renters, our state is now leading the way to provide much-needed economic relief to vulnerable homeowners across the state... We know that the economic pain of the pandemic has been felt disproportionately in rural communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities, and this program is a demonstration of our commitment to placing the needs of New Yorkers in need at the heart of our work. We thank the Biden Administration and our entire congressional delegation for securing this critical lifeline, and New York is ready to support homeowners in need every step of the way.
-Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York State

The new HAF program was created by and will be managed by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), and is targeted to help those who are behind on mortgage payments, property taxes, water or sewer bills, as well as owners of cooperative or condo units behind on maintenance fees, and manufactured homeowners behind on chattel loans or retail installment contracts. Those who are eligible may be able to get assistance to catch up on missed housing payments, to reduce mortgage debt to make monthly mortgage payments more affordable, and for homeowners who are unemployed, assistance with up to six months of future housing payments.

From an income perspective, applicants must have household incomes at or below 100 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is approximately $78,900 per year for a family of four in Erie County, and must be at least 30 days delinquent on monthly housing payments for their primary residence. Awards will be capped at $50,000 per household. Assistance will be structured as a five-year, non-interest, non-amortizing forgivable loan. If the homeowner remains in the home for a period of five years, the loan will be fully forgiven.

For more information or if you have questions about this new program, you can visit the HAF program website here.

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