SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services announced it helped 1,295 households to date stay in their homes through the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF). OHCS remains committed to ensuring homeowners can afford to stay in their homes. The program offers federal temporary COVID-19 emergency mortgage relief intended to support homeowners who have experienced severe financial hardships due to the pandemic.
Jason Gist is one of the households who were able to keep their homes. Gist of Grants Pass lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then watched his savings dwindle away, but thanks to this program, he was able to stay out of foreclosure.
“The Homeowner Assistance Fund has made a profound difference in my life,” Gist said. “It’s not just financial assistance; it’s a lifeline for homeowners facing unprecedented challenges. I am grateful for their support and unwavering commitment to helping individuals like me navigate these uncertain times.”
Administered by OHCS, HAF provides up to $50,000 to help low- and moderate-income homeowners bring past-due mortgages and housing expenses current. Low-income homeowners may receive an additional $10,000 for up to six months of ongoing assistance with monthly mortgage payments and housing costs.
Geographically, about 500 of those homeowners helped live in rural areas. Count the Smiths of Grants Pass among them.
“We were losing our home and we tried everything to get help,” Vickie Smith said. “And just before it got foreclosed, the HAF program stepped in and saved our home. Thank you to everyone who was involved with the program.”
OHCS will provide $72 million of assistance for Oregon households. Since opening a pilot program at the end of 2021, OHCS has approved assistance expected to total $44 million. OHCS has already scheduled over $35 million in payments for 1,295 households with an average award of about $27,000. OHCS is currently processing applications that have not been approved yet, for a projected $25 million of assistance. If each of these is approved and paid, about $3 million of funding would remain for about 111 new applications at the current average award.
OHCS designed eligibility criteria to serve the most at-risk homeowners and homeowners who are traditionally underserved or who are less able to recover, such as Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x, Asian, and Pacific Islander households, as well as members of federally recognized Tribes.
“For many Oregonians, homeownership is an important part of building generational wealth. Although this program is one-time in nature, our goal is to help people afford to stay in their homes for the long term,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “Even if homeowners are eligible, there’s no guarantee their application will be funded through HAF but there are other loss-mitigation options that depend on a homeowner’s mortgage and their servicer. Homeowners should evaluate all their options with the help of a certified housing counselor.”
Homeowners can get free help from certified housing counselors around the state to learn about budgeting tools and evaluation of options to keep their homes, such as modifications, adding deferred payments to the end of a mortgage, or HAF. Search the full list of free certified housing counselors by county at the OHCS website.
Visit the HAF Dashboard for more detailed information about HAF and other OHCS Homeownership programs.