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Business and Economy

New fund could provide up to $25,000 for Maine homeowners facing pandemic-related hardship

Mortgage Lending Then and Now
Paul Sakuma
/
AP file
This Aug. 14, 2007, file photo shows a sign of a house under foreclosure in Antioch, Calif.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills, U.S. Sen. Angus King and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree announced a $50 million Homeowner Assistance Fund on Thursday to help Mainers at risk of losing their homes because of hardships created by the pandemic.

The program is authorized and funded through the American Rescue Plan, and can be used to pay mortgage, utilities and property taxes. Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection Superintendent Will Lund says homeowners must be in default of mortgage, utility or tax payments to qualify.

"It's for folks facing foreclosure, facing shutoff of utilities, facing municipal tax lien which would result in transfer of ownership of their property to the municipality," he says.

Homeowners can apply for up to $25,000 in assistance. Payments will be made on behalf of homeowners directly to mortgage servicers, municipalities or utility companies.

Lund says the U.S. Treasury approved the funds as a last resort for homeowners who have tried to secure their loans through their mortgage lender.

"These are tax monies that you and I have paid into the federal government so we have an obligation to use them only as they are intended to be," he says.

Homeowners must meet certain income limits, own and occupy their dwelling, and have a COVID related financial hardship to be eligible.