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1/10/2022 Speaker Shekarchi and Senate President Ruggerio announce launch of $50 million Homeowner Assistance Fund
Program provides financial assistance to eligible Rhode Island homeowners for mortgage or other housing-related expenses
 
PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Jim Langevin, Congressman David N. Cicilline, Governor Dan McKee, Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, and Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing announced the launch of the Homeowner Assistance Fund Rhode Island (HAF-RI). This program will provide much-needed financial assistance to eligible Rhode Island homeowners who have struggled to pay their mortgage payments and/or housing-related expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Homeowner Assistance Fund will support eligible homeowners throughout the state during a critical time in Rhode Island's recovery. We hear how important access to critical support, like homeowner assistance, can be for families and I am proud that we were able to bring these funds directly to our residents,” said Speaker Shekarchi. “We are so grateful to RIHousing for their work to implement this program across the state and hope that anyone eligible to benefit from this program will apply today.”

The program is aimed at preventing mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. The program helps homeowners impacted by COVID-19 to catch up on mortgage and utility bills and other housing-related costs and is available statewide.

“We know that our constituents, particularly our homeowners, have experienced so much over the course of the past two years,” said Senate President Ruggerio. “COVID-19 has presented new challenges and I’m glad that we were able to respond and provide our residents with critical dollars to help with housing costs and payments. I’m grateful to our federal delegation for leading the efforts to ensure these resources made it home to Rhode Island.”

Senator Reed spearheaded the creation of the $10 billion federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) that was approved as part of the coronavirus stimulus package last spring. Rhode Island has received $50 million in HAF funds for struggling Rhode Island homeowners.

“I created this program to help prevent people from losing their homes. The application window is now open and I encourage Rhode Island homeowners experiencing financial hardship to apply as soon as possible. This is another example of the federal government giving states the resources to cope with impacts of the pandemic – in this case, averting further problems in our already stressed housing market. Getting this money out the door quickly is imperative if we want help families, neighborhoods, and communities,” said Senator Reed, who led the successful effort to include $9.961 billion for a new Homeowner Assistance Fund in the American Rescue Plan Act.

Following approval by the U.S. Department of the Treasury of Rhode Island’s program, RIHousing is now able to make these critical resources available to Rhode Island homeowners. Eligible applicants can receive up to 24 months of assistance, not to exceed $50,000. Applicable expenses include mortgage arrearages, monthly mortgage payments, principal reduction, property taxes, homeowner association fees, and condominium association fees. Those who qualify for mortgage assistance or assistance for other foreclosable liens may also receive payment assistance for utilities, flood or mortgage insurance, or other mortgage-related expenses. Generally, program assistance will be paid directly to the mortgage servicer, utility provider or other entity owed housing-related costs.

Eligible homeowner applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for assistance through HAF-RI:
  • Household must be below certain income limits, which varies by household size.
  • Must own and occupy a 1 to 4-unit dwelling in Rhode Island.
  • Must have experienced a COVID-19 related financial hardship after January 21, 2020.
  • Original mortgage balance must have been less than $548,250.
Community-based partner agencies will be available soon to provide application assistance. In the meantime, individuals looking for more information, the application or answers to frequently asked questions about the program should visit: www.HAF-RI.com.

“For many, owning a home represents the American Dream and is likely the greatest source of economic and social stability for owner households,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing, the agency tasked with administration of the program. “The HAF-RI program provides vital resources for struggling Rhode Island homeowners and is a critical tool to help ease the pain of the pandemic felt by families and individuals across our state.”


For more information, contact:
Emily Martineau, Communications Deputy Director for the Office of the Speaker
State House Room 323
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2466