American Rescue Plan Helping Hoosiers Keep Their Homes During COVID-19


Indiana Capital Chronicle: “The U.S. Congress established Homeowner Assistance Funds when it approved the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021. Indiana’s program, administered by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, soft-launched in February — and officially in mid-March.” 

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today celebrated how the American Rescue Plan is helping homeowners impacted by COVID-19 keep their homes during uncertain times. According to an Indiana Capital Chronicle report, the Rescue Plan created the Homeowner Assistance Funds program to provide aid for families who experienced financial loss during the pandemic. Indiana used ARP dollars to create the Indiana Homeowner Assistance Fund, and since its launch in March, this program has provided about 900 recipients the opportunity to catch up on bills like mortgage payments, insurance costs, and property taxes. 

Hoosiers enrolled in the Indiana Homeowner Assistance Fund have described the program as a “lifeline” for them. And, it was Democrats like André Carson and Frank Mrvan who delivered this program to Hoosiers when it mattered most. 

In contrast, the Indiana Republican Party – including Todd Young – said “NO” to this brighter future. Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer called this project “socialism” – claiming the Republicans’ opposition was a “great campaign to run on”. The Indiana GOP’s opposition to these kitchen-table issues is another reminder they have no plan for Indiana’s future – just abiding by an extremist agenda, like making abortion access against the law. 

Here’s a look at how the American Rescue Plan continues to help Hoosiers remain in their homes during these uncertain times: 

Indiana Capital Chronicle: Pandemic-hit homeowners say state program saved houses: “It should be on a billboard”

John Bauer’s salvation came as a phone call.

The Porter County resident had been out of work since the pandemic first blasted into the Chicago area, where he’d worked as a tile-setter. Bauer said he resisted applying for unemployment benefits, but folded as the pandemic dragged longer. 

Illinois ended its federally enhanced unemployment benefits in September 2021. Bauer’s wife, Cynthia, succumbed to Covid-19 on New Year’s Day. Six days later, a propane heater in the garage — feet away from Bauer — exploded into a fire that consumed the garage, melted his utility meter and damaged his house’s siding, roof, windows and door. 

Bauer’s income dropped to near-nothing as the expenses, insurance complexities and grief piled up. By early 2022, he’d fallen behind on the mortgage for the house his wife had bought in 2006.

It was by chance — in a local publication’s newsletter — that Bauer in March learned of the program that would set him on a path to keeping his house: the Indiana Homeowner Assistance Fund. […]

Bauer was accepted to the program about two months after he applied, and could begin the monthslong process of getting help.

“It’s sad that I had to stumble on that article,” he said. “I almost feel like it should be on a billboard.” 

The U.S. Congress established Homeowner Assistance Funds when it approved the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021. Indiana’s program, administered by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, soft-launched in February — and officially in mid-March. 

It’s since disbursed more than $7 million in assistance and has earmarked about $2 million more to disburse soon, according to an application portal. Successful applicants are getting an average of $990 a month delivered directly to their loan servicers to help with an average $10,300 mortgage delinquency. 

For Bauer and others, it’s been a lifeline.

The program can help with mortgage loan principals and interests, property taxes, insurance, homeowner’s association fees or liens, late fees, attorney fees and most foreclosure-related fees.

The help maxes out at six months or $35,000 and comes as a forgivable loan: 20% is forgiven each year a homeowner stays in the house, meaning it’s forgiven in five years. 

And the state has a lot more to give. The running total is just over 4% of the program’s $167 million budget. Indiana has until September 30, 2026 — for now — to disburse the funds, according to IHCDA Director of Asset Preservation Chris Nevels. After that, the U.S. Treasury will take any leftovers back and could redistribute it.

“As is the case with any big government program that’s dealing with hundreds of millions of dollars, it can take a while to get going. There’s a lot of things you have to figure out and get running smoothly. But overall, I think we’re doing a really good job,”  Nevels said. […]

Hoosier homeowners are eligible if they’ve experienced a Covid-19-related financial hardship since Jan. 21, 2020, meet an income threshold, own just one mortgaged house and consider it their primary residence, according to the program’s website. Some types of assistance come with additional underwriting criteria. Even those who are in bankruptcy can apply.

Hoosiers have submitted nearly 5,500 applications as of August 8, according to the portal. The program has approved nearly 900 and is waiting on responses from loan servicers on an additional 1,425. It’s also denied or closed about 1,300 applications, which Nevels said typically happens when an applicant doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements. […]

And the program’s ramping up.


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