In response to the pandemic – and the economic impact it has had on family and households. Washington County has a program available for homeowners who have been affected by COVID-19.
Karly Schoeman, deputy executive director of the Washington County Community Development Agency, explains the program in more detail and what is currently available to homeowners.
Could you tell us more about how the Homeownership Crisis Assistance Program works?
Congress provided $ 5 billion under the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to states, metropolitan cities, urban counties and island areas to prevent , prepare for and respond to the coronavirus. The CDBG program is administered at the federal level by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and provides an annual allocation of funding to eligible jurisdictions. While CDBG funding provided by the CARES Act is to be used to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the regular annual allocation of CDBG funds more generally supports community development activities, to build stronger communities and more resilient through activities such as improving infrastructure, development efforts, supporting public facilities, renovating housing, acquiring land and providing public services.
How or why was Washington County selected to receive funds?
Washington County is an eligible jurisdiction to receive an annual allocation of CDBG funds based on its population. The Town of Woodbury also receives an annual allocation of CDBG funds, based on its population. The allocation of CDBG funding provided by the CARES Act followed the typical funding allocation process for CDBG eligible jurisdictions. In addition to CARH grant funding through Washington County, the City of Woodbury has also provided a portion of its CARES CDBG grant to support the CARH grant program for residents of Woodbury.
The application process is ongoing, with 70 applications received to date. So far, 30 requests have been approved while 11 have been denied. The most common reason for refusing an application is that the household is above the income limit set by HUD for the CDBG program. The most common reason an application remains open is that we do not yet have the full required documentation.
Do their funds still remain?
Yes, there is still approximately $ 450,000 of CARH grant funds left.
Can you provide results so far?
Many grant recipients have expressed their gratitude for these funds which will help them stay at home amid a Covid-related financial impact on their household. We even had applicants who were not eligible for the grant to express their gratitude for the information they received on options to settle their mortgage arrears. We consider this support to homeowners in difficult financial situations a great success.
If there is any interesting or relevant information that has been learned through this experience, please do not hesitate to share.
The documentation process to determine eligibility for these CDBG funds is lengthy, so we encourage applicants to be patient with the process and respond as quickly as possible to requests from CDA staff for additional documents required to complete their application. request.
“We encourage homeowners who are behind in their mortgage payments or homeowner’s association dues due to a Covid-related financial impact to apply for the CARH grant funds. It is best to contact as soon as possible, both because grant funding is limited and to take advantage of other options that may be available through the mortgage service.