can be used by homeowners in default because of COVID-19

Program announced to help Mainers pay home expenses

Thu, 05/05/2022 - 10:30pm

    Governor Janet Mills, U.S. Senator Angus King, and Representative Chellie Pingree announced Thursday a $50 million Homeowner Assistance Fund through the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection to provide direct relief to Maine homeowners at risk of losing their homes because of hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The national program, authorized and funded through the American Rescue Plan, can be used by homeowners in default because of COVID-19 to pay home-related expenses including their mortgage, utilities, and property taxes.

    The American Rescue Plan provided all states and territories funds to help homeowners at risk of default, foreclosure, and displacement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Maine Homeowner Assistance Fund can help homeowners:

    Pay off past due mortgage payments

    Reinstate a mortgage or to pay other housing-related costs related to a period of forbearance, delinquency, or default

    Pay off past due homeowner's insurance, flood insurance, and mortgage insurance

    Pay off property taxes to prevent tax foreclosures

    Pay off utilities, including electric, gas, sewage and water bills that are past due

    Pay off past due amounts for Internet services, including broadband Internet access service

    Pay off past due homeowner association or condominium association fees

    Pay off past due manufactured home loan debt

    Homeowners can apply for up to $25,000 in mortgage benefits, including up to $15,000 in property tax assistance and $10,000 in utility payment relief. Maximum benefits under all aspects of the program cannot exceed $25,000 per household. Payments will be made on behalf of homeowners directly to creditors including mortgage servicers, municipalities, or utility companies.

    To be eligible for assistance, homeowners must be below certain income limits, own and occupy a 1 to 4-unit dwelling in Maine, and have experienced a COVID-19 related financial hardship after January 21, 2020. Those hardships can include, for example, a temporary job loss.

    To determine if they are eligible for assistance, homeowners can begin the application process at Those with questions can contact the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection’s hotline at 1-888-664-2569 or Maine Housing Counselors who are partnering with the Bureau. Legal assistance provided by Pine Tree Legal Assistance and Legal Services for the Elderly is also available to homeowners who are facing imminent loss of their home.