The Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF) provides up to $30,000 to help homeowners who have experienced a financial hardship related to COVID.
Last year, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan. The Rescue Plan included $350 million to help Pennsylvania homeowners who have experienced a financial hardship related to COVID. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and its partner, Innovating Emergency Management (IEM), are responsible for administering the program.
Pennsylvania began accepting PAHAF applications from homeowners on February 1, 2022.
As mentioned above, federal law sets certain broad requirements, but we do not yet know how Pennsylvania’s plan will be structured. Here is what we know for now about who will be eligible for the HAF:
To be eligible to receive money from PAHAF, you must:
- Be a Pennsylvania homeowner who occupies your home as a primary residence.
- Have experienced a financial hardship related to COVID. This includes a hardship that began before COVID, but was made worse by COVID. A hardship can include a decrease in income or an increase in expenses as a result of COVID.
- Have income of less than 150% of the area median income. For Philadelphia County, these limits are:
|Household Size||Maximum Annual Income|
NOTE that priority will be given to homeowners with lower income and homeowners who meet the federal definition of “socially disadvantaged.”
PAHAF is a grant. You do not need to pay it back. It will pay for the following expenses:
- Mortgage payment assistance for homeowners who are behind in their mortgages. Up to $30,000 or 24 months of payments.
- Delinquent property taxes. Up to $5,000 or 24 months of payments.
- Delinquent homeowners insurance premiums. Up to $3,000 or 24 months of payments.
- Delinquent homeowners association (HOA) fees or condo fees. Up to $5,000 or 24 months of payments.
- Delinquent utility expenses (such as gas, water, or electric). Up to $3,000 or 24 months o payments.
If you are delinquent in your mortgage, but cannot afford to start paying your mortgage again yet, PAHAF will also pay for up to six months of mortgage payments going forward.
You can apply for PAHAF by visiting pahaf.org or by calling 888-987-2423.
If you live in Philadelphia and you would like to talk with someone about PAHAF, you can call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-4663.
PAHAF will pay to catch up on back payments for your first mortgages, but it will not pay for second mortgages, including some home equity loans, lines of credit, or HELOCs.
PAHAF will pay to catch up on rent-to-own agreements.
PAHAF will pay to catch up on certain expenses related to reverse mortgages.
Some mortgages that had very large original principal balances will not qualify. This amount varies but is typically over $500,000.
You can qualify for PAHAF if you have inherited your home, but your name is not yet on the deed.
You can qualify for PAHAF if you have a tangled title (that is, you have some claim of ownership to your home but your name is not on the deed).
You can qualify for PAHAF if you are not the only name on the deed/mortgage, and everyone whose name is on the deed/mortgage cooperates with the application.
You may be able to qualify for PAHAF if you are not the only name on the deed/mortgage, and everyone whose name is on the deed/mortgage is not willing/able to cooperate with the application.
To qualify for PAHAF for your mortgage, you need to be behind on your mortgage. Some people fell behind on their mortgage but accepted a loan modification or other offer from their mortgage company and are no longer behind on their mortgage. If you are not behind on your mortgage, you cannot qualify for PAHAF to pay for your mortgage.
To qualify for PAHAF to pay for mortgage and housing expenses, you are required to cooperate with your mortgage company to determine whether you are eligible for a loan modification. However, you are not required to apply for or be denied other assistance to qualify for PAHAF.
For now, PAHAF will only pay up for up to 24 months of housing costs and have limited the total amount to the amounts described above. You should still apply for PAHAF. However, if you need more than this amount to catch up on your payments, you will need to find other sources of funding to make up the difference.
Since this is a new program, we do not know the answer to this question. If you think you are eligible, you should apply as soon as possible.
When you apply for PAHAF, you should have the following documents ready:
- Your most recent mortgage statement (if you are applying for mortgage assistance)
- Your most recent property tax bill, homeowners insurance bill, HOA or condo fee bill (if you are applying for this housing assistance)
- Your most recent utility bill (if you are applying for help with utilities)
- Proof of identity for everyone in your household
- Proof that you live in your home
You will need to explain your COVID-related financial hardship, your household income, and answer several questions about your housing or utility expenses.
Since this is a new program, we don’t yet know. After you have applied, you should tell your mortgage company so that they know you are waiting.
You should immediately call your mortgage company and ask that they postpone the sheriff sale so that you can apply for PAHAF. You should also call the law firm representing the mortgage company in the foreclosure to ask them to postpone the sheriff sale. If your mortgage company or the law firm does not agree to postpone the sale, you can file a Motion to Postpone in the court where your foreclosure case took place. If you live in Philadelphia and would like to speak with someone about filing a motion, call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-4663.
If your application for PAHAF was denied, you should receive a letter explaining the reasons for the denial. If you think the denial was wrong, you can request that your application be reconsidered. If you would like to talk with someone about your application–and you live in Philadelphia–please call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-4663.
Yes! In Philadelphia, you can receive talk to a free housing counselor or legal services advocate by calling the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-4663.