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A state agency announced this week that it would be merging two pandemic-era programs aimed to keep people housed despite economic upheaval, and officials said that millions are still available for those who need it.
The Homeowner Assistance Fund comes out of a $10 billion allocation in the federal American Rescue Plan Act. It’s there for homeowners who are facing foreclosure. Recipients can get up to $20,000 in aid that they don’t have to pay back.
Homeowners can qualify as long as they occupy their home as a primary residence, experienced financial hardship associated with the pandemic, received mortgages of less than $417,000 and have incomes of less than 150% of the area median income. In Albuquerque, for example, that’s $101,250 for a household with four people.
The fund started at $55 million, and so far, the state has paid about $8 million to 1,317 homeowners, according to a news release from the state. That leaves $47 million as of Wednesday, Aug. 31.
The state now has a single website for applicants who both rent and own their homes. That can be found at NMHomefund.org.
Merging the programs is an effort to simplify access, according to a news release from the state’s Department of Finance and Administration.
Renters also can access federal rental assistance money. The state received about $300 million in from two pieces of federal legislation aimed at helping renters stay sheltered during the pandemic, and so far the state has paid about $167 million of it to about 71,000 renters.
Assistance is available from both programs until September 2025 or until the funds are spent, according to the state.
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