IHFA is working to keep people in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Housing Preservation Program is available to renters with a current household income of 80% of Area Median Income or less. It provides short-term rent and utility support for Idahoans experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic.
The program initiated by IHFA, with financial support from The Home Partnership Foundation, was launched in April with an initial investment of $250,000. Gov. Brad Little and the Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee provided a major financial boost, allocating up to $15 million of the state’s CARES Act funding for the program.
As of December, the program had helped more than 4,600 Idaho households.
IHFA is stepping up our efforts to keep homeowners sheltered during the pandemic. Our post-purchase forbearance counseling program, Back on Track Idaho, acts as an intermediary and helps outline options to people who have fallen behind on their mortgage.
As a certified HUD-counseling agency, we have counselors on staff ready to help homeowners in need, even if they do not have a loan through IHFA. Each homeowner’s situation varies, but our team is ready to help each of them, whether it be guiding them through a loan modification with their lender, helping set up repayment plan, or other options.
“Idaho Housing believes that education is the key to sustainable homeownership...”
“Idaho Housing believes that education is the key to sustainable homeownership,” said Susan Semba, executive vice president of Homeownership Lending at IHFA. “The Homeowners Toolkit provides useful information and a place to go and ask questions, after the homeowner has moved in to their new home. Questions always come up at a later date and not knowing where to go for answers is now solved. We believe this will be a great benefit for new homeowners.”
Back on Track Idaho was publicly launched in Sept. 2020 and will continue through 2021. This type of assistance can be very effective. According to HUD, homeowners who take advantage of post-purchase counseling are 30 percent less likely to wind up in foreclosure. They are also 283 percent more likely to receive a loan modification from their lender.
We’re working to protect homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic too. As part of the CARES Act, any federally backed mortgage loan must allow borrowers to get on a forbearance plan if they have experienced a financial hardship related to the pandemic.
This forbearance program does not forgive any part of the loan, but allows the homeowner to pause or reduce their payments for up to a year without penalty or the risk of foreclosure.
As of November, approximately 15,000 of IHFA loans were on a forbearance plan. Daily enrollment in these plans peaked between April and June, but is expected to remain consistent through the first quarter of 2021. About 25 percent of borrowers on a forbearance plan are current on their monthly payments and roughly three thousand borrowers have come off their plans.
Our resources page is available to help homeowners weigh their options.