CHARLESTON, W.VA.— For the past year, the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program has connected nearly 4,200 West Virginia homeowners with more than $15 million in tax-free federal assistance to help them stay in their homes.
The program, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, launched on March 28, 2022. Over the past year, the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program has prevented foreclosures, saved homes from the auction block, and reconnected utilities in an effort to help homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic maintain housing stability.
“The pandemic was not only a health crisis, but an economic one too,” said Erica Boggess, Executive Director of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, which administers the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program. “So many West Virginians got behind in their housing payments, whether it’s because they lost a job, had their wages reduced, or because of increased costs in health care and other areas. This program exists to help those homeowners maintain housing stability and get back on track.”
To commemorate one year of operations, the West Virginia Housing Development Fund has declared April 2023 as Housing Stability Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the Fund and community partners will work to promote housing stability services, programs, and resources for homeowners and renters throughout the state.
One such resource is housing counseling. In addition to paying past-due mortgages, utilities, property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and other eligible housing costs, the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program also connects homeowners to partner housing counseling agencies that serve areas throughout the state. These agencies can help homeowners get their financial lives back in order by building a budget, providing tips for repairing or building their credit, and avoiding foreclosure by working with their lenders to find the best mortgage payment option.
“Providing free housing counseling is nearly as good as paying for a family’s housing expenses,” said Jessica Greathouse, Special Programs Manager for the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. “The counseling is a benefit that will last far beyond the pandemic, as homeowners can use those tools forever to get a firm financial footing for long-term housing stability.”
Beginning April 3, homeowners and renters can find information on housing stability services and resources online at www.wvhdf.com/housing-stability, as well as the West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Facebook page and the Fund’s Instagram feed @wvhousing. State agencies, including the Governor’s Office and Department of Veterans Assistance, also will share information on their websites and social media channels.
“I will forever champion the Homeowners Rescue Program for assisting thousands of West Virginians,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “Their program is committed to ensuring homeowners have the resources and support to weather any financial hardship and maintain their homes for years to come. It’s truly amazing the work they’ve accomplished, leaving a meaningful impact on the lives of so many families throughout West Virginia. Thank you for everything you do.”
The West Virginia Homeowners Rescue Program remains open to new applications for homeowners who have not yet received assistance. State homeowners who have experienced a financial hardship during or due to the pandemic can receive up to $28,800 in assistance to pay past due mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, and other housing expenses. To see eligibility requirements and to start an application, go to www.wvhomerescue.com. Those without internet access can call 1-844-542-0035 to request a paper application.