On March 11, 2021, The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, was signed into law. The Bill includes $9.9 billion allocated to the Homeowner Assistance Fund to help homeowners in need pay overdue mortgage bills, taxes, insurance, and HOA dues. These funds will be distributed through state and local government agencies (see links to Oregon and Washington state housing agencies below).
The program is expected to be a grant given to homeowners directly; not to the community association. As a result, it is important for HOA boards to be aware of relief available to homeowners and to be able to direct them to this valuable resource.
Section 3206 of the American Rescue Plan defines the terms of the Homeowner Assistance Fund. It provides funds for "homeowners' association, condominium association fees, or common charges..." 60% of eligibility targeting is for "homeowners having incomes equal to or less than 100% of the area median income for their household size or equal to or less than 100% of the median income for the United States...whichever is greater. The eligible entity shall prioritize remaining funds to socially disadvantaged individuals." (Section 3206(c)(2).)
Below is a list of housing provisions in the American Rescue Plan of 2021:
- Emergency Rental Assistance - helps renters keep up on rent and remain in their homes.
- Homeowner Assistance Fund - provides homeowners assistance with mortgages, utilities, Internet service, insurance, and community association fees.
- Emergency Housing Vouchers - for people who are experiencing homelessness.
- Homelessness Assistance and Supportive Services Program - housing and services for homelessness.
- Housing Assistance and Supportive Services Programs for Native Americans.
- Emergency Assistance for Rural Housing - administered by USDA.
- Funds for Housing Counseling - administered by NeighborWorks.
- Relief Mesasures for Secion 502 and 504 Direct Loan Borrowers - helps low-income borrowers purchase, repairs, and rehabilitate housing in rural areas.
- Funds for Fair Housing Activities - to investigate fair housing complaints, strengthen enforcement, and assist victims of housing discrimination.