PHFA shares progress made on PAHAF assistance to homeowners in January
An additional $10.7 million of PAHAF funding has been disbursed during the past month
HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency today is providing an update on the steady progress being made by the Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund to assist people whose lives were disrupted by the pandemic.
Pennsylvania was awarded $350 million for the administration of the program and the disbursement of funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. That federal legislation was enacted to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and the displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-related impacts.
Monthly data for the program for August through January is shown below. This monthly data also is available on the PAHAF dashboard at: www.pahaf.org/program-dashboard/. The dashboard is updated on a regular basis, and it now has an interactive feature to display key program metrics by county. For more detailed information about the program, the quarterly PAHAF legislature reports are available at: www.pahaf.org/policies-and-reporting/.
During the month of January, the PAHAF program has disbursed an additional $10.7 million of funding to homeowners in need of pandemic-related assistance. The number of homeowners assisted has grown to 15,176 total households. Total funds that have been disbursed are $198.3 million.
The agency is continuing its push to have applicants re-register in the new software being used by PHFA to automate many of the processing steps for homeowners. When applicants re-reister, it allows them to make sure their most current documents are uploaded in the system and then lets them see more accurately where their application is in the review process.
Customers can re-register directly through the website by visiting www.PAHAF.org/reregister. They also can phone the PAHAF call center at 1-888-987-2423 for assistance by trained customer service personnel. The process to re-register takes about 30 minutes.
PLEASE NOTE: Homeowners who have applied and re-registered for PAHAF assistance who are facing an adverse action such as foreclosure, sheriff sale, or utility shut off, are advised that they should verify that their application notes that action and notify the PAHAF call center immediately so that the program can prioritize the application, determine eligibility and disburse approved funds that may prevent the action.
"This funding is intended to assist homeowners whose lives were upended by the COVID virus," said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. "As the numbers illustrate, we continue to make steady progress getting financial assistance into the hands of homeowners to help them recover financially and remain in their homes."
The agency frequently receives emails from satisfied homeowners thankful for the assistance they've received through the Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund, which has helped them save their home from foreclosure.
For instance, when a woman in Philadelphia was contacted in June with the news that she was approved for PAHAF assistance, she broke down in tears and responded, "The thought of losing my home has caused me insomnia, depression and anxiety. I can't thank you enough. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU."
This homeowner is receiving more than $26,750 in mortgage assistance. She also has received utility assistance of more than $670 for her electricity and nearly $1,300 for gas.
In early 2023, PHFA moved the full management of PAHAF from a third-party vendor to its in-house team with the goal of expediting payments to eligible Pennsylvania homeowners. As part of the transition, PHFA strengthened program procedures, hired more employees, trained a dedicated call center staff, and implemented the Neighborly software system to improve how the agency tracks PAHAF applications.
Current PAHAF applicants are homeowners who experienced a reduction of income or increase in living expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic after January 21, 2020 (including a hardship that began before January 21, 2020, but continued after that date). They also currently own and occupy their home in Pennsylvania as their primary residence.
PAHAF assistance is being used to provide mortgage reinstatement, forward mortgage payments, property charges and unpaid utility bills. Funds are being distributed directly to mortgage lenders, servicers, utility providers and other authorized third parties, not to homeowners. The program has until September 2025 to disburse all $350 million of PAHAF funding.
PHFA remains fully committed to quickly and responsibly disburse all PAHAF financial assistance to Pennsylvania homeowners, as evidenced by its improvement of the program's management.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency works to provide affordable homeownership and rental housing options for older adults, low- and moderate-income families, and people with special housing needs. Through its carefully managed mortgage programs and investments in multifamily housing developments, PHFA also promotes economic development across the state. Since its creation by the legislature in 1972, it has generated more than $17.9 billion of funding for more than 196,750 single-family home mortgage loans, helped fund the construction of 103,328 rental units, distributed approximately $289 million to support local housing initiatives, and saved the homes of more than 50,860 families from foreclosure. PHFA programs and operations are funded primarily by the sale of securities and from fees paid by program users, not by public tax dollars. The agency is governed by a 14-member board.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency