MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Are you among those in Minnesota currently behind on your mortgage payments? The state is giving away nearly $110 million in help.
Minnesota Housing announced on Friday that the HomeHelpMN program will open for applications on Tuesday, May 17. The money will go to homeowners who are behind on mortgage or home-related expenses due to the pandemic. But sign up now, because much of the money will be awarded on a "first come, first served" basis. Applications will be accepted for just one month.
The money comes from the Federal American Rescue Plan and can only be used for home owner expenses, including mortgage payments, property taxes or even homeowners' association fees.
State officials believe of the estimated 25,000 homeowners who are eligible, they only have enough money to help 7,000 households.
To qualify you must earn below the area median household income, which for Minnesota is $73,000, though they are allowing households with incomes of up to $90,000 to apply. You also need to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
"If you need help, don't wait. This is not a program for procrastinators. The time to apply is now," Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho said.
State officials will also recommend applicants make an appointment with a housing counselor. It's a free federally-certified service many haven't heard of. One of their goals is to help families approaching or already in foreclosure.
Jason Peterson runs Neighborworks Home Partners, a Twin Cities home counseling nonprofit.
"We have helped 30 families save their homes," Peterson said. "We can communicate with the lender on your behalf for you to work out those options."
The maximum amount of money you can get is $35,000, but the state expects the average payment to be about $16,000. The money will go directly to the mortgage company, and the best part is you don't have to pay it back.
If you need help applying call 1-800-388-3226.
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