Having trouble paying the mortgage? These pandemic funds can help

By Patrick Blennerhassett Las Vegas Review-Journal
Updated July 18, 2023 – 7:34am

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Set up in 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, some Las Vegas residents may not know they can still access money to help for homeownership-related issues through the Nevada Homeowner Assistance Fund.

Nevada was allocated more than $120 million, and so far just over 1,000 people have accessed the funding for various reasons, utilizing $21.7 million. This equates to $21,593 per household, and Martin Sanchez, the West Region vice president of mortgage sustainability for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which is working with local nonprofit Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation to help get the money utilized, said the idea is to help citizens with “financial hardships” related to home ownership.

“They can be used to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, and foreclosure, by providing financial assistance for one’s primary residence,” he added. “In addition, some programs may also assist with avoiding the loss of utilities and assist with other qualified expenses.”

This could also include catching up on past-due mortgage payments, as well as receiving help for such costs as utilities, insurance and homeowner association fees or liens plus financial counseling.

According to data concerning the fund for people in Clark County, a large chunk of the people accessing the money (39 percent) have a household income lower than the median income.

Federal Reserve data concerning delinquency rates for single-family residential mortgages across the U.S. shows that after a peak back in the first quarter of 2010, rates have been dropping steadily. However, there was a small but significant bump up that started in the first quarter of 2020 and rates have resumed declining since the end of 2020.

The S&P Case Shiller rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage currently sits at 6.8 percent as of July 13.

Sanchez said the idea is to get the word out that even though the pandemic has been declared over, funding is still available.

“We realize that although the COVID-19 national emergency has ended, many mortgage customers are still experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19. We’re committed to helping our mortgage customers, who need assistance, to access these funds.”

For more information about the program, go to Wells Fargo’s landing page for the fund.

Contact Patrick Blennerhassett at [email protected].

This story was originally published on July 14, 2023 by the Las Vegas-Review Journal.

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