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Housing

This page will be updated as more information becomes available 

UPDATE: Gov. Tony Evers has announced the launch of the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program, which is set to provide more than $92 million in financial assistance to Wisconsin homeowners who have experienced financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible homeowners can receive assistance with mortgage payments, local property taxes, and utilities, including internet, as well as housing counseling and legal services. The Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program and the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund are funded through the Baldwin-supported American Rescue Plan Act. Click here to apply

Not sure where to start? This government website is a one-stop, go-to resource for up-to-date information on housing relief options, protections, and key deadlines. Visit cfpb.gov/housing to learn more.

Need updated information for renters and landlords?  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a new Rental Assistance Finder, providing state and local program information for renters and landlords seeking assistance.

Need updated information for homeowners? Learn about requestingextending, or repaying forbearance; and options to avoid foreclosure including CFPB's new rules on mortgage servicing.

Need Fair Housing Act information? Landlords and renters can visit hud.gov/fairhousing for details on guidance.

Need information on clean energy tax credits for homeowners? Learn more at cleanenergy.gov 


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Congress has passed several rounds of financial assistance and relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including most recently the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 contains billions in funding to help ensure that families and individuals have a roof over their heads, including: 

  • Emergency rental assistance. The legislation provides more than $21.5 billion in emergency rental assistance, to be administered by Treasury, to help millions of families keep up on their rent and remain in their homes. 
  • Homeowner Assistance Fund. The legislation provides nearly $10 billion, to be administered by Treasury, to help homeowners behind on their mortgage and utility payments and avoid foreclosure and eviction. 
  • Emergency housing vouchers. The legislation provides $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. 
  • Homelessness assistance and supportive services program. The legislation provides $5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to help create housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 
  • Housing assistance and supportive services programs for Native Americans. The legislation provides $750 million for assistance for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, helping reduce housing-related health risks during the pandemic. 
  • Emergency assistance for rural housing. The legislation provides $100 million, to be administered by USDA, to help people in rural communities keep their homes during the pandemic. 
  • Funds for housing counseling. The legislation provides $100 million, to be administered by NeighborWorks, for grants to housing counseling providers to provide services to households facing housing instability. 
  • Relief measures for section 502 and 504 direct loan borrowers. The legislation provides $39 million, to be administered by USDA, for USDA Section 502 and 504 home loans, which help low- and very-low income borrowers purchase, repair, and rehabilitate housing in rural areas, while helping existing borrowers who are struggling to afford housing. 
  • Funds for fair housing activities. The legislation provides $20 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program to investigate fair housing complaints, strengthen enforcement, and assist those who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination. 

Housing Resources for Wisconsinites 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

  • To find and connect with your local public housing agency (administering public housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers in Wisconsin), click here
  • To find and connect with a HUD-approved housing counselor, click here
  • HUD is also providing COVID-19 guidance to public housing agencies, homelessness organizations, CDBG grantees, and other HUD-assisted housing providers on its website at: https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • USDA is providing COVID-19 guidance to assisted households, grantees, property owners, and single family and multifamily borrowers on its website at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Other Resources

  • To connect with the entity administering the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in your area, please visit https://wiscap.org/wera (statewide) or click on the relevant link below:
  • For more information on how to apply for help paying your utility bills, please call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947)

Renters & Landlords

See below for more information from the U.S. Department of Treasury, the agency overseeing implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program.

What is the ERA program?

The Emergency Rental Assistance program makes funding available to assist households that are unable to pay rent or utilities.  Two separate programs have been established: ERA1 provides up to $25 billion under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which was enacted on December 27, 2020, and ERA2 provides up to $21.55 billion under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was enacted on March 11, 2021.  The funds are provided directly to states, U.S. territories, local governments, and (in the case of ERA1) Indian tribes.  Grantees use the funds to provide assistance to eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Rental Assistance Finder provides state and local program information for renters and landlords seeking assistance (Updated 08.03.21)

To connect with the entity administering the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in your area, please visit https://wiscap.org/wera (statewide) or click on the relevant link below:

Where can I access additional ERA resources?

More information about the ERA program is available on the U.S. Department of Treasury‚Äôs website at: https://home.treasury.gov/policy- issues/cares/emergency-rental-assistance-program 

The National Council of State Housing Agencies provides links to many of the state-wide ERA programs through a map on its website at: https://www.ncsha.org/emergency-housing-assistance/

Homeowners

Are there resources for homeowners who need individualized advice or legal help?

There are numerous state, local, and non-profit housing counseling agencies that give free advice and assistance to homeowners and those facing foreclosure. To contact one of these agencies, homeowners can contact a HUD-approved housing counselor. If you are in need of legal assistance, you may wish to contact a legal aid attorney.

Learn about requestingextending, or repaying forbearance; and options to avoid foreclosure including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new rules on mortgage servicing (Updated 08.03.21)

You may also want to visit consumerfinance.gov/housing for up-to-date information on your relief options, protections, and key deadlines.

What if borrowers are having trouble paying their property taxes? 

Many homeowners have an escrow account from which their servicer pays their property taxes and required insurance payments. When borrowers have an escrow account, even if they are in forbearance, property taxes and insurance will be forwarded on their behalf. But some homeowners with a mortgage, as well as homeowners who no longer have a mortgage on their property, may pay property taxes directly to their locality. If homeowners fall behind on these property taxes, they can face fees and ultimately tax foreclosure. 

If a homeowner is unable to make their property tax payments as scheduled, they should contact their local government immediately to discuss a payment plan. If they have trouble reaching a repayment plan agreement, homeowners can also contact a HUD-approved housing counselor or legal aid attorney.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides funds to help homeowners. What homeowners are eligible and how will those funds be distributed? 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $9.961 billion for a Homeowner Assistance Fund at the Treasury Department, which will provide funds to states, Tribes, and territories to provide direct assistance to homeowners. The law makes assistance available for homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship associated with the coronavirus pandemic and whose mortgage (if they have a mortgage) is below the conforming loan limit for the area, which is set annually by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and is currently between $548,250 and $822,375 for a one-family home. Homeowners are not required to have a mortgage to receive assistance, and funds can be used to provide mortgage payment assistance, help reinstate a mortgage, facilitate interest rate reductions, provide utility or broadband internet assistance, cover housing-related insurance costs, among other purposes which may be determined in the future. We expect Treasury will put out guidance to further clarify eligible uses of funds, as well as more technical guidance on how funding recipients can determine whether a household is eligible for assistance.

When will Homeowner Assistance Fund money be available? 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 requires the Treasury Department to determine how much in funding each state, Tribe, and territory will get and to begin making payments to those states, Tribes, and territories that tell Treasury they want to administer the funds within 45 days after the bill is enacted, which will be before the end of April 2021. The minimum allocation to each state is $50 million, and funds to Tribes are distributed based on the FY 2020 Indian Housing Block Grant formula. Wisconsin is expected to receive $92,705,301 from the Homeowner Assistance Fund.

Additional Information and Resources

For general information and resources about coronavirus for Wisconsinites, please click here.

For more information about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, please click here.


Disclaimer: The information provided on this webpage does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice from Senator Baldwin. All information, content, and materials available on this page are for general informational purposes only.  

This webpage shares information, email addresses and links to other sites or entities on the Internet that are not maintained by Senator Baldwin. Resources, email addresses and links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Senator Baldwin of any of the products, services or opinions of the entity or organization or individual. Senator Baldwin bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.