(The Center Square) – Maryland is doling out $248 million in taxpayer funds to aid homeowners with the launch of a new program, Gov. Larry Hogan said.
The governor announced in a news release that the Maryland Homeowners Assistance Fund will support mortgage relief, home repairs, housing counseling and legal services within the state. The program will be run by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
“Across Maryland, there are homeowners who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments due to the financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hogan said in the release. “The programs we are announcing today through the Homeowner Assistance Fund will help keep Marylanders in their homes and support our state’s economic recovery.”
The program will provide $171 million for loans to aid homeowners experiencing financial hardship with mortgages and an additional $34 million for grants to assist with property taxes, homeowner association fees, and other delinquencies, according to the release.
The WholeHome program will provide $10 million to homeowners for repairs and energy efficiency improvements, and an additional $8 million for counseling service. Helping homeowners with legal services when it comes to the foreclosure process will be funded with $3 million.
The final $22 million will be used for program case management and administration of the programs, along with marketing and outreach. The goal of the program is to reach eligible homeowners, including minority populations, and residents in hard-hit areas to make them aware of the relief program.
State residents who are experiencing issues with mortgages are advised to contact their mortgage servicer. The program will award $4.4 million in FY22 to 29 housing and legal service agencies to help residents access the relief fund.
The program will assist applicants who are underemployed or unemployed on or after Jan. 1, 2020, who have experienced mortgage delinquency, or forbearance and other types of delinquencies. Eligibility can be determined by visiting homeownerassistance.maryland.gov. If assistance is needed for applying, or navigating, the portal, applicants are asked to call 833-676-0119 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The emergency home repair program, according to the release, is designed to help those needing repairs at their primary residence but have been unable to address the issues due to the financial impact of COVID-19. Grants are capped at $10,000 and are to be used for mold remediation, asbestos and lead paint removal, no heat or no air, and electrical, plumbing, and septic repairs.
For residents needing help with mortgage servicers, according to the release, the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation within the Department of Labor regulates the mortgage service industry. If a homeowner feels the servicer is not participating properly with the Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund, they can report their concern by visiting labor.maryland.gov/finance/consumers to file a complaint.