Homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for financial assistance for mortgage and property tax payments from a new statewide fund. (Alex Unruh/The Beacon)
Homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for financial assistance for mortgage and property tax payments from a new statewide fund. (Alex Unruh/The Beacon)

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In the first quarter of 2022, the state of Kansas had nearly 10,000 past-due mortgages. 

Six of 10 of those mortgages were at least three months late and considered seriously delinquent, according to Marilyn Stanley, the program director for the Kansas Homeowner Assistance Fund.

A new $56.6 million statewide program funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act aims to help homeowners who are struggling financially due to the pandemic. 

The program offers up to $45,000 to homeowners for past-due mortgage payments, property tax payments, utility payments and more. 

Homeowners applying to the fund can do so here. The program launched on April 18 and will continue until all dollars are exhausted, which program coordinators are predicting will be by August. The fund had provided about $2.4 million in assistance as of June 9. 

“Our big message to everyone is to apply now. Don’t wait,” Stanley said. 

How can the Kansas Homeowner Assistance Fund help me?  

Mortgage payments, property taxes and homeowner association fees are the primary uses that the fund covers. But other costs, such as homeowner’s or flood insurance, may also be eligible. To find a full list, check here

You can also qualify for assistance for past-due utility bills, including internet and broadband, through the program. 

But you must have overdue mortgage payments, property taxes or other property charges to qualify for utility help, Stanley said.

Am I eligible to apply?

There are a few requirements to apply for the program: 

  • Make sure your household income falls within the boundaries of the program. For Sedgwick County, a family of four can’t make more than $127,200. 
  • Show that your income was reduced and/or your living expenses increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Have mortgage payments, property taxes or other property charges that are at least 30 days past due.

For a full list of eligibility requirements, click here.

What documentation do I need to apply?

You need to show proof of your household income, which could mean 2021 tax returns or recent pay stubs from every household earner, Stanley said. 

The state also needs confirmation that the mortgage and the home is in your name and that it’s your primary residence. 

I’m a landlord. Can I use the the Kansas Homeowner Assistance Fund for my rental properties?

For the most part, no. You can only use the fund to pay for costs at your primary residence.

If you own a condominium, it can’t be larger than four units and you must occupy one of the units to be eligible for assistance.  

Also, LLCs and other business entities are not eligible for the fund. 

If I receive assistance, will it need to be paid back?

It depends how much assistance you receive. If you receive $25,000 or less, you will receive it as a grant

If you receive more than $25,000, the assistance is structured like a two-year, no interest forgivable loan. You will be required to repay it only if you sell, refinance or transfer ownership of the home within two years of receiving the money.

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Hack covers local government for The Wichita Beacon. She is a Report for America corps member. Follow her on Twitter @CeliaHack.