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Texas

Texas mortgage assistance program opens for statewide applications

Multi-family housing in Austin
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
State officials have rolled out a $700 million program designed to help homeowners who’ve fallen behind on mortgage payments and other housing costs during the pandemic.

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State officials have rolled out a "Texas Homeowner Assistance Fund" that is designed to help homeowners who’ve fallen behind on mortgage payments and other housing costs during the pandemic.

The program has about $700 million in federal funds available to help folks get caught up on mortgage payments, property taxes, mortgage insurance and HOA fees.

The money is given out as grants to qualifying homeowners; it is not a loan that needs to be paid back. A household can receive up to $40,000 for mortgage payment assistance and up to $25,000 for property taxes, home insurance and HOA fees.

Before the statewide launch this week, two limited pilot programs were operating. Those programs have paid out more than $5 million so far.

While rental assistance has been delivered through a mix of state, county and city programs, mortgage assistance is solely available through the state program.

Applications are primarily being taken online at texashomeownerassistance.com.

There are some restrictions. To qualify, homeowners must:

  • Live in and own their homes
  • Have faced financial hardship due to the pandemic
  • Earn an income at or below the median income in their community

In 2021, Congress approved nearly $10 billion in mortgage assistance funds as part of the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan. It was part of a strategy to prevent a foreclosure crisis as the pandemic upended the economy. Texas received $842 million for its program and dedicated most of that to helping homeowners directly.

It’s taken more than a year for Texas to receive its share of the funding and roll out its program statewide.

Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage on time have had the option to sign up for mortgage forbearance. Forbearance prevents a bank from foreclosing on a homeowner behind on their payments. Any missed payments still need to be paid back.

Financial assistance for renters has been available since early 2021, though the state’s program has stopped taking applications because it is running out of funds.

However, most of the state’s largest cities and counties still have rental assistance funds available. Some, like Arlington, Austin and San Antonio have run out.

Federal eviction protections for renters ended last summer, though a handful of cities and counties still have some pandemic-era renter protections.

Got a tip? Christopher Connelly is KERA's One Crisis Away Reporter, exploring life on the financial edge. Email Christopher at cconnelly@kera.org .You can follow Christopher on Twitter @hithisischris.

Copyright 2022 KERA

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