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State aid program to help Texans with utility bills, future mortgage payments

Households eligible for the Texas Homeowner Assistance Program can now apply for the additional help.

AUSTIN, Texas — Eligible Texans in need of help paying their utility bills or future mortgage payments now have access to additional aid.

Households eligible for the Texas Homeowner Assistance Program (TXHAF) can now apply for help paying past due and future utility payments. Through the program, income-qualifying households will also have more time to stabilize their finances with future mortgage payments.

“The State of Texas continues working to ensure all Texans have the opportunity to lead healthy and successful lives in our state, and through the Texas Homeowner Assistance Program, we are helping keep families in their homes, the lights on, and the water running,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement.

According to a press release, each household can receive up to $65,000 in total assistance, provided in the form of a grant. Homeowners must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Have experienced a qualified financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic after Jan. 21, 2020
  • Be behind on one or more payments, including mortgage loans, property insurance, property taxes, homeowner/condo association fees and/or utility bills
  • Have a household income at or below 100% area median income or 100% of the median income for the U.S., whichever is greater
  • Own and occupy a home in Texas as a primary residence

The press release states that TXHAF can cover the past-due balance and up to three months of future payments for electricity, water, natural gas, propane and wastewater utility services, up to a maximum of $10,000. In addition to the above overall eligibility criteria, households must have a past-due utility bill dated within the last 45 days and must own and occupy the residence at the address listed on the bill.

Households can apply for the utility bill assistance regardless of whether or not they apply for mortgage relief or property charge help. If approved, payments will be made directly to the utility vendor on the applicant's behalf in the form of one lump sum. 

The $10,000 maximum utility assistance is included in the $65,000 per household cap, according to the press release.

As for the mortgage help, households with no income or a debt-to-income ratio greater than 55% that are unable to continue making monthly mortgage payments can qualify for mortgage reinstatement plus up to three months of future payments, up to the household maximum of $65,000

The release states that since its launch in March, the TXHAF has disbursed more than $175 million and assisted more than 18,000 unique households.

For more information on the program, including an eligibility screener and online application, visit TexasHomeownerAssistance.com. The TXHAF also has a toll-free call center available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. That number is 833-651-3874, and help is available in multiple languages.

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