Despite the wide availability of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection, a rebounding job market, and other signs of growth and stability in the U.S. economy, the economic aftershocks of the pandemic are still present. Many homeowners are still struggling to pay their bills. The reasons vary: job loss, the inability to work, long haul symptoms related to COVID-19 and more.
In January, President Biden announced the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which would provide relief to Americans impacted by COVID. Congress passed the legislation, and the president signed it on March 11, 2021. Included in the Act was the Homeowners Assistance Plan, which provides funding for each state and other territories to provide additional relief to those struggling to make payments toward their mortgages and/or other financial obligations related to their home.
When Ohio learned about its allotment ($280 million), the Ohio Housing Finance Agency was appointed to disburse the funds. OHFA staff are currently crafting a plan to work toward two efforts: address critical and time-sensitive financial home-related needs of Ohio homeowners and develop a more robust suite of programs to address more complex challenges.
The programs will operate under Save the Dream Ohio 2021 and in two phases to prevent foreclosures and displacement of Ohioans struggling to pay their mortgage and/or utilities and that address the long-term needs of homeowners with financial hardships related to the pandemic.
SDO 2021 will operate under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Treasury, which must approve Ohio's plan to assist homeowners.
SDO 2021 plans to address lapsed utility payments, past due property taxes, and other homeowner- related fees or liens, or property tax bills. In addition, programs within SDO 2021, Rescue Payment Assistance and Mortgage Payment Assistance, would assist homeowners who have been unable to pay their mortgage to bring the homeowner current and/or cannot pay their current mortgage. Any mortgage payment would go directly to mortgage servicers.
For more information about SDO 2021 and to sign up to know when applications are available visit OHFA's Homeowner Assistance web page.