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A nip in the air reminds us that winter is coming, so now is a great time for homeowners behind in their utility payments to apply for assistance through the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program.

Homeowners who meet income qualifications and can demonstrate a pandemic-related hardship are encouraged to apply for help with their past-due housing costs. In addition to utilities, the program can also cover past-due mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and other costs. A full list of eligible expenses is available online at www.wvhomerescue.com.

“Many West Virginia homeowners who have struggled financially because of the pandemic have been forced to make difficult decisions, including not paying their utility bills so they could make their monthly mortgage payments,” said Erica Boggess, Executive Director of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, which administers the Homeowners Rescue Program. “Our program can pay those past-due bills and ensure West Virginians keep their homes, as well as their electric or gas heat, throughout the winter.”

The West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program launched in March 2022 to connect eligible homeowners with federal COVID relief funds to help them maintain housing stability. Those who own their homes and do not have a mortgage may still qualify for assistance with other expenses, including utilities. To date, West Virginia Homeowners Rescue has paid $8.2 million to about 3,100 applicants across the state.

“Many West Virginians are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, especially in their wallets,” Boggess said. “Any homeowner who is even a month behind in their utilities should apply for tax-free assistance so we can catch them up on those bills before winter comes.”