The federally funded program to assist Vermonters who have defaulted on mortgage or property tax payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic resumed Monday this week to provide grants for payments up to 12 months overdue.
The Mortgage assistance program The company first operated July through December 2020, granting 636 Vermont households an average of $ 6,000 each. With average monthly mortgage payments of $ 1,200, most of these households owed payments of three months or more, and most were lenient.
The program is administered by Vermont Housing Finance Agency, but is open to all eligible homeowners, regardless of where they got their loans from.
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Forbearance helps avoid immediate foreclosure for homeowners, but it does nothing to clear the amount of money they owe. Sometimes the repayment terms make the house unaffordable. The mortgage assistance program helps solve this problem by lowering a homeowner’s credit.
“We are relieved to resume these grants for the many Vermont homeowners who continue to face economic hardship amid this pandemic,” said Maura Collins, managing director of VHFA, in a press release. “We have heard of homeowners worried about paying back their forbearance balances, and we’re glad this program can provide them a path toward housing and financial stability.”
The weak economy is synonymous with a lack of payments
Vermont’s economy continues to struggle and Vermonters continue to need help with their mortgages. The number of jobs in Vermont fell 7.6% between March 2020 and March 2021, more than any other state in New England, according to the Vermont Department of Labor.
This rate of job loss is the highest in Vermont and hits the leisure and hospitality sectors hardest. Vermont lost 12,300 leisure and hospitality jobs in 2020, a decrease of 34%.
As a result, missed mortgage payments have doubled over the course of the pandemic. Nearly 4.7% of all Vermont mortgages were seriously criminal at the end of 2020, compared with 2.2% at the end of 2019, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The mortgage assistance program is available to eligible homeowners who have missed at least one payment since March 2020, regardless of whether they are in forbearance. Conditions of participation and application instructions can be found on the VHFA website at www.vhfa.org/map.
Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanDambrosioVT. This reporting is only possible with the support of our readers.