Q: I’ve done my best to keep my finances above water during the pandemic, but I’ve reached a point where I’m overwhelmed. Is there help for homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments? -LL
To respond: You’re not alone. The past two years have presented financial challenges for many, especially when it comes to housing expenses. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you. As part of the 2021 U.S. bailout, North Carolina received $273 million in federal funds to expand the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund and provide financial assistance to homeowners impacted by the pandemic. Eligible North Carolina homeowners can receive up to $40,000 per household, paid directly to their mortgage agent or other approved third party to help cover housing costs related to the homeowner’s primary residence in North Carolina. Assistance is available for single family homes, townhouses, condominiums, duplexes, mobile and manufactured housing and may cover mortgage payments, reinstatement payments or other related costs such as home insurance, flood insurance, mortgage insurance, homeowners association dues/fees, or overdue property taxes to avoid foreclosure.
To be eligible for assistance, homeowners with incomes below $79,900 must have experienced pandemic-related financial hardship, such as a business closure, job loss, wage reduction, the death of a spouse or the death of a co-borrower. Individuals may also be eligible if they have incurred increased expenses due to the pandemic, such as health care costs, childcare costs related to school closures, or additional costs related to quarantine. People with higher incomes may still qualify, depending on the number of people in their household.