Looking for homeowner assistance?

Homeowners can find out what homeowner assistance covers, how it works, and who’s eligible on the interagency housing portal hosted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Expanding HAF Use of Funds

HAF Programs are encouraged to critically analyze their offerings periodically to ensure that the needs of homeowners are being met. Engaging with homeowners on a regular basis about ongoing needs can help identify new supports and help avoid homeowner displacement, foreclosure, and utility shut offs. Additionally, reviewing denial data can offer other insights into changes a program can make to further address mortgage delinquencies and other issues with housing instability.

HAF Programs have the opportunity to identify new strategies to meet the needs of vulnerable homeowners beyond their existing HAF offerings and reallocate funding accordingly. Quantitative and qualitative data can inform budget allocation changes and help ensure program offerings meet homeowner needs and maximize the impact of HAF funds in communities across the country.

Manufactured Housing

Over 22 million Americans live in roughly 8.4 million manufactured homes, and over 70%[1] of these are homeowners. Manufactured homes can be placed on land that is owned by the homeowner or land that is rented. To finance the purchase of a manufactured home, many households obtain a personal property loan secured by the home itself rather than a traditional mortgage. These loans can come with significantly higher interest rates than traditional home mortgages. If a homeowner with a personal property loan falls behind on payments for the manufactured home or land rent, the home can be repossessed, a process with generally fewer consumer protections than foreclosure, or the homeowner can be evicted by the landowner. While the prevalence of manufactured housing varies across the country, it is often a less costly option than site-built homes. As of February 2022, approximately 71% of households living in manufactured housing earn less than $50,000 a year.[2]

The State of Alabama assisted the owners of manufactured homes predominantly through lien extinguishments. Eliminating these debts removed the burden of high monthly payments on homeowners who were already facing financial hardship related to the COVID pandemic and were vulnerable to displacement. A high percentage of the manufactured housing properties in the lien-extinguishment program were in persistent poverty counties. By extinguishing these liens, homeowners were able to remain in their homes and be set on a sustainable pathway to housing stability. 

HAF Programs also can provide similar housing stability support for homeowners burdened by other relatively modest liens such as liens created pursuant to tax loans and Property Assessed Clean Energy (or “PACE”) loans in certain jurisdictions. 

Home Repairs

From time to time, home repairs are a necessary expense for all homeowners to ensure a safe environment for their household. The habitability of a home can be affected by many factors, such as:

  • Age of the structure: Homeowners with older homes, even those who do not have any mortgage debt, may have to replace or improve fixtures that are beyond their lifecycle. (The median age of owner-occupied homes in the United States is roughly 40 years.)[3] 
  • Needs of household members: Senior residents may require home modifications to maintain habitability. Repairs, such as replacing a roof or mitigating mold, can maintain the habitability of the home and allow senior residents to age in place. In some cases, the reasonable addition of habitable space may alleviate overcrowding and reduce the likelihood of displacement. 
  • Natural disasters: Fire, floods, tornadoes, or ice storms, which can destroy a home’s physical structure at a high price to the homeowner if the loss is not fully insured. 

Additionally, homeowners who have suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic may have delayed essential home repairs in order to pay other bills and obligations. Thus, home repair assistance may be an essential intervention to prevent displacement. Facilitating home repairs can make a home livable and safe for the homeowner to stay for years to come.

The State of West Virginia is addressing the need to ensure accessibility for its aging population to age in place and avoid unsafe living conditions. The State has added home repairs as an option to homeowners as a result of data analysis and other evidence from its city centers and persistent poverty areas. Many applicants to the original program indicated that a critical home repair was necessary to stay in the home. West Virginia has a high rate of grandparents raising their grandchildren. Additional family members in aging homes can add stress to the structure of the home, making critical home repairs a necessity to keep the young and aging alike in a safe, habitable environment.

Mortgages with Partial Claim or Deferred Balances

Many homeowners who encountered financial hardships associated with the pandemic were able to find mortgage payment relief restructuring their mortgages. Often, these loss mitigation options have included moving a portion of the homeowner's mortgage obligation into a "partial claim" or "deferred balance" that must be repaid at a later date. While deferrals or partial claims do not accrue interest and help to reduce ongoing payments, they are secured by a lien on the homeowner's property and result in a lump-sum payment due at the mortgage’s maturity date or upon sale of the property. They also reduce the equity in the house, resulting in decreasing homeowners’ ability to refinance should they wish to make necessary home repairs or lower payments in the future. In addition, if a homeowner has exhausted a partial claim, it may not be an available tool for mortgage relief should the homeowner have subsequent financial difficulties. Programs that use HAF funds to pay off a deferred balance or partial claim can help homeowners increase their housing stability by recovering sufficient equity to support financial resiliency.

The State of California’s HAF Program continuously monitors data to identify the evolving needs of homeowners and inform program modifications. Informed by statewide mortgage trends, internal application denial data, and communications with housing counselors and advocates, California added a program option to use HAF funds to reduce or eliminate eligible homeowners’ partial-claim liens or loan deferrals. Homeowners may apply for assistance to address current delinquency, partial claim, or loan deferral balances up to the total program cap. To support successful implementation, California incorporated ongoing communication with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), private insurers and primary mortgage servicers. Through this program element, California’s HAF Program continues its mission of helping homeowners return to the equity position they had prior to the pandemic. 

Tangled Titles/Clearing Titles

Intergenerational property transfers may lack proper documentation or even result in a former (possibly deceased) owner’s name on a deed. These so-called “tangled titles” may prevent occupants from obtaining a grant or loan to make urgent repairs, using home equity for home-related expenses, or accessing relief for property tax bills. By providing legal aid assistance and support for title clearing, HAF Programs can enable individuals to obtain a clear title and claim their rightful homeownership. 

The State of West Virginia realized some mortgage assistance applicants found it difficult to prove homeownership due to tangled titles. Instead of denying these applications, the HAF Program refers these applicants to a law firm that helps low-to-moderate income earners with these types of needs as well as housing counseling. This practice helps clear the title to the applicant’s home and confirm eligibility for HAF mortgage assistance.


When households are unable to meet basic utility expenses like power and water, it is often a bellwether of a household’s financial instability. Homeowners who have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially lower-income earners, may have postponed or simply not paid certain bills in order to maintain immediate necessities, such as keeping food on the table or medication prescriptions. As pandemic-related moratoriums on utility shut offs for water and electricity have expired, many homeowners found themselves owing several months of unpaid bills and risking shutoff of their heat, electricity, or running water. 

The State of Nebraska included utilities (water, electricity, propane, oil, gas, and internet) as a program offering in September of 2022 in response to advocacy from community organizations and the program’s application reviewers noticing the high balances on the utility bills and shutoff notices that applicants submitted as proof of residency. To expand its impact, the Nebraska HAF Program also coordinates with the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to reach to eligible homeowners with incomes too high to qualify for LIHEAP. Additionally, Nebraska included internet as an allowable expense to support homeowners who relied on internet access while working remotely to promote social distancing, offering monthly payment assistance aligning with an average internet bill. 



[1] Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2021, Tenure by Units in Structure.

[2] Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, Phase 3.3, Wave 42. Data Spotlight: Profiles of older adults living in mobile homes.

[3] United States Census Bureau. American Community Survey: Median Year Structure Built. 2021: ACS 1-Year Estimates Detailed Tables