Maine Unveils $50 Million Homeowners Assistance Program | Maine

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(The Center Square) — Maine is rolling out a new $50 million program to support homeowners struggling with mortgage payments, utility bills and other expenses amid record inflation.

The new Homeowner Assistance Fund, which is supported by federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, authorizes the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection to provide direct assistance to homeowners at risk of foreclosure and other hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Janet Mills said the program will provide support for Mainers to pay their mortgage, utilities, property taxes “and other expenses that can help them get through this difficult time.”

“The pandemic has been hard on many Maine residents, stretching thinner wallets and forcing hard-working people to dig deeper into their pockets to make ends meet,” she said.

To be eligible, homeowners must demonstrate pandemic-related hardship, meet income limits, and own and occupy a one- to four-unit dwelling in Maine, according to the Mills administration.

Under the program, homeowners can apply for up to $25,000 in mortgage benefits, including up to $15,000 in property tax assistance and $10,000 in utility payment relief.

Maximum benefits under any aspect of the program cannot exceed $25,000 per household, according to the Mills administration.

Payments will be made on behalf of homeowners directly to creditors, including mortgage agents, municipalities or utility companies, officials said.

Maine has received more than $4.5 billion from ARPA’s relief program, including money for businesses and direct payments to residents and funding for local governments.

The Mills administration rolled out similar relief programs using ARPA funds and targeting other industries, including health care, child care, and the state’s agricultural sector.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation who lobbied for ARPA funding praised the creation of the homeowner relief program.

“The U.S. bailout was designed to help families and communities recover from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this program demonstrates how legislation continues to achieve those goals,” Senator Angus said. King, I-Maine.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said the relief means eligible Maine homeowners “won’t have to choose between buying groceries or gas and paying their electric bills or mortgages.” .

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