How to Effectively Allocate Homeowner Assistance Funds
In response to homeowners falling behind on mortgage payments and other housing costs during the pandemic, a federal program called the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) was put into place. The purpose of the HAF is to provide struggling homeowners with financial relief and to prevent foreclosures, delinquencies, homeowner displacement, loss of utilities or home energy services, and defaults.
With a total of nearly $10 billion in federal funds available through the HAF, state housing finance agencies (HFAs) are now tasked with distributing the funds. It’s a big job, but it doesn’t have to be a time-intensive, stressful one. Here’s how your housing agency can get the help it needs to successfully allocate funds and provide homeowners with the assistance they need.
Identify Your Administrative Challenges
The Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program is an important piece of federal pandemic relief as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, but it comes with significant administrative burdens for state housing agencies. The agencies administer a wide range of other programs and initiatives designed to promote and facilitate affordable homeownership for millions of Americans who might otherwise be excluded.
To be eligible for HAF assistance, applicants must meet the eligibility requirements established by their state and submit an application along with other required documents. These documents may include mortgage and bank statements, utility bills, and income verification, among others.
For state housing agencies, all of these incoming documents result in a lot of paperwork to go through and a lot of boxes to check off before it’s possible to provide homeowners with the funding they need.
Meanwhile, many state housing agencies are still working through the process of gaining approval of their HAF plans from the U.S. Treasury Department. Others are working to initiate pilot versions of their programs to ensure a smooth rollout in the face of what is expected to be significant demand.
Understand the Urgent Need
Many homeowners urgently need these funds, increasing the stress levels among housing agency employees.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey, roughly 1.1 million homeowners are currently in forbearance programs. This means that since June, when nearly 4.3 million homeowners were in forbearance, over 3 million borrowers have exited programs.
For homeowners still faced with pandemic-driven financial challenges, exiting forbearance and resuming payments again is difficult and, in some cases, impossible. Not to mention, this time is especially stressful for homeowners since the foreclosure moratoria was lifted in July. According to Black Knight’s August 2021 Mortgage Monitor Report, 7,100 foreclosure starts, the highest amount in 8 months, occurred in August.
Streamline Your HAF Program with Labor Augmentation
With a Homeowner Assistance Fund program, your housing agency can help minimize the number of homeowners who enter into foreclosure and maximize the number of homeowners who receive the money they need to stay in their homes. You just need to know how to effectively overcome administrative burdens and allocate the funds in the timeframe homeowners need you to.
Fortunately, MetaSource offers a labor augmentation solution that can help you do just that. With experience providing a wide array of state-of-the-art mortgage services and technology to state housing finance agencies across the country, we are fully equipped to support you.
No matter how far along you are in the process, we can provide the staff augmentation, information technology, and expertise you need to fulfill the HAF goals. Our team of industry experts can effectively access any review platform, approve application documents, and review applications for eligibility and help you get funds out the door and into struggling homeowners’ hands quickly.
MetaSource’s solutions come with the deep expertise of our team of lending and business technology professionals, which includes leaders across every facet of the mortgage industry – some of whom are already working to help HFAs determine eligibility for their pandemic relief programs.
Speak with your MetaSource HFA rep today to get your HAF program up and running with reliable, cost-effective outsourced help.