US Treasury says COVID anti-lockdown payments reach $3.7 billion

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday that state programs using its COVID-19 Homeowner Assistance Fund distributed $1.2 billion in assistance to homeowners in the first quarter this year, bringing total program payments to $3.7 billion so far.

Payments from the $10 billion program, launched under President Joe Biden’s pandemic-related American Rescue Plan Act 2021, reached more than 318,000 households at risk of foreclosure, the department said.

The program has benefited a higher proportion of economically vulnerable and traditionally underserved homeowners than previous federal mortgage relief efforts, he added. Almost half of the aid reached “very low-income homeowners” earning less than 50% of their region’s median income, according to Treasury data.

“The Homeowners Relief Fund has helped keep hundreds of thousands of families in their homes,” Treasury Undersecretary Wally Adeyemo said. “As state programs assess their remaining HAF funds, the Treasury Department will continue to work with recipients to ensure these funds are quickly delivered to homeowners who need them most.”

Data showed that 35% of homeowners who received help identified as black, 23% as Hispanic/Latino, and 59% as female.

The program was designed to ramp up after COVID foreclosure moratoriums expire and mortgage forbearance programs end in early 2022.

He was spared the clawback of COVID relief funding in last month’s bipartisan agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling, as the funds had already been transferred to state programs that process homeowner applications. in trouble. Like other COVID-related relief programs, all remaining Homeowner Relief Fund resources expire on September 30, 2025.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chris Reese and Will Dunham)

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