Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday announced a new $539 million state fund to help homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments and property taxes.
The so-called Homeowner Assistance Fund will open to applications on Jan. 3, targeting low- to middle-income property owners, Hochul said during a Dec. 6 press conference.
“This is the lifeline that they’ve been waiting for. We are very anxious to get this out to people in need,” the governor told reporters at her Manhattan office.
The state launched a website and a hotline to apply for the new fund which will provide up to six months of housing payments, or a maximum of $50,000 per household.
“We want to make this simple, make sure that people understand how to apply, learn from some of our past examples of getting federal dollars out and streamlining it,” Hochul said. “This should not be so complicated [that] people give up and that’s what we’ve seen in the past.”
Past pandemic aid for the state’s renters known as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program was held up for months under Hochul’s predecessor, disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The money comes from a dedicated $10 billion pot of federal funds under the March American Rescue Plan, and can help homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments, property taxes, water or sewer bills, as well as co-op and condo owners who need to make up maintenance fees.
“We’ll be processing applications as they come in, first come first serve, and we are prioritizing homeowners who are already in litigation, those who are most at risk of being evicted from their homes, and we’ll protect those highest at risk of being displacement [sic],” Hochul told reporters.
To be eligible, households must be at or below 100% of AMI, a federally designated figure which in the New York City region is $107,400 for a family of three.
The program is designed and will be administered by the state’s affordable housing agency Homes and Community Renewal and is managed by affordable housing nonprofit Sustainable Neighborhoods.
To apply for New York’s Homeowner Assistance Fund program, visit nyhomeownerfund.org or call 1-844-77-NYHAF.
This story first appeared on amNY.com.