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Tennessee COVID-19 program offering up to $40k to keep people in their homes

The Tennessee Homeowner Assistance Fund was started as a part of the American Rescue Plan to help homeowners who have faced financial hardships due to the pandemic.
The Tennessee Homeowner Assistance Fund was started as a part of the American Rescue Plan.
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 11:24 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 9:15 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A new program with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency launched that is geared towards helping those who have faced financial hardships due to the pandemic.

The Tennessee Homeowner Assistance Fund was started as a part of the American Rescue Plan.

Those who apply can receive up to $40,000 per household to help pay housing costs including past-due mortgage payments, property taxes, and more.

“We think this funding will go a long way in helping homeowners in Tennessee who haven’t been able to make their mortgage payments through no fault of their own,” THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey said. “We look forward to working with eligible homeowners, as well as banks and lenders throughout the state, to make sure that Tennesseans can pay money they owe and avoid foreclosure on their homes.”

Knoxville appraisal expert and owner of The Appraisal Firm, David Landes, told WVLT News that the amount could help the average homeowner in East Tennessee.

“Unless it’s snowballed from, $40,000 could cover the mortgage for most people in east Tennessee,” said Landes. “For most people who have a $1,500 or $2,000 mortgage payment, a $40,000 bump is really going to help out.”

While Landes said there hasn’t been a significant amount of people on the verge of losing their homes in Knoxville, homeowners are exercising other options before it gets that far. Since so many people are buying homes right now, if homeowners get behind, they can avoid foreclosures by simply selling their homes.

“Typically, it’s not difficult if you’re in a bad position to unload a property right now,” Landes said.

Data from CoreLogic shows the percentage of mortgage owners in each county who are more than 90 days late on their mortgage payments.

The county with the highest rate of mortgage owners in that category is Union Co. with a delinquency rate of 3.99% and Loudon Co. has the lowest with 2.03% of mortgage owners being delinquent.

“Homeowners who live in Tennessee, have a household income less than $119,850 and have experienced financial hardship after January 21, 2020, related to the COVID health crisis may apply for assistance,” said Wes Brunch with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

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