COVID-19 Emergency Information for Housing Counselors

This page is a summary of key resources for HUD participating housing counseling agencies.

COVID-19 Response and Relief Funding Chart for Housing Counselors

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and various FY 2021 Federal appropriations legislation have been geared toward addressing the COVID-19 health and economic emergency. Understanding the funding that may be available for housing assistance enables housing counselors to identify state/local programs and determine grantees to contact. Some of the available key programs by Federal agency include:

Federal Agency

Program and Allocation

Description of Funding

Applicable Eligible Activities

Housing Counseling Related Uses

Contact

Treasury

Treasury Seal

Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF)
$150 billion

Treasury disburses payments to states and eligible units of local government, D.C. and U.S. Territories, and tribal governments to cover necessary expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Each unit of government is responsible for making determinations regarding which expenses are necessary due to the public health emergency.

Eligible expenses may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Public health expenses
  • Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees
  • Expenses to facilitate compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures
  • Expenses associated with the provision of economic support

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Payment of overdue rent or mortgage payments related to the public health emergency
  • Eviction prevention related to the public health emergency
  • Utility fees to maintain essential services, related to the public health emergency

View CRF allocations
(search by state, county, and/or city/metro).

Emergency Rental Assistance Program
$25 billion (ARPA added $21.6 billion)

Passed on December 21, 2020 the Emergency Rental Assistance program makes available $25 billion to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are provided directly to States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes. Grantees use the funds to provide assistance to eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs.

View the following links for more information:

Eligible expenses include:

  • At least 90 percent of the funds must be used to provide financial assistance, including back and forward rent and utility payments incurred due to the pandemic. Assistance can be provided for 12 months. States and localities can provide an additional 3 months of assistance if necessary, to ensure housing stability for a household. Update: The March 5, 2021 ARPA allocation allows for up to 18 months in assistance.
  • When providing forward rent, assistance can only be given for 3 months, though households can subsequently reapply for additional assistance.
  • Recipients can use up to 10 percent of funds to provide case management and other services related to the pandemic.

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Payment of back and forward rent, utility payments, and other housing expenses incurred due to the pandemic
  • Case management and other services related to the pandemic to help keep households stably housed

The Treasury Department has issued its methodology for allocations and eligible units of local government.

Search for Emergency Rental Assistance Programs by State.

Homeowner Assistance Fund
$10 billion

The fund will provide money to the states, territories, and tribes to establish foreclosure-avoidance and other homeowner-relief programs for homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020.

Once the programs are set up, at least 60 percent of the funds must be used to serve household at or below 100 percent of area median income, the balance can be determined by the entity to serve those who are socially disadvantaged individuals.

There is also $39 million to assist rural homeowners through USDA’s Section 502 and Section 504 direct loan programs.

Eligible expenses related to mortgage relief are expected to include:

  • Payment assistance for delinquent property taxes to prevent homeowner tax foreclosures
  • Homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, and mortgage insurance
  • Homeowner’s association fees or liens, condominium association fees, or common charges
  • Down payment assistance loans provided by nonprofit or government entities
  • Financial assistance to allow a homeowner to reinstate a mortgage or to pay other housing related costs related to a period of forbearance, delinquency, or default
  • Measures to prevent homeowner displacement, such as home repairs to maintain the habitability of a home or assistance to enable households to receive clear title to their properties
  • Principal reduction
  • Facilitating interest rate reductions
  • Utilities, internet (including broadband)
  • Counseling or educational efforts by housing counseling agencies approved by HUD, or legal services, targeted to households eligible (capped at 5% of HAF allocation)

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Housing counseling or education are eligible activities, including legal services
  • Mortgage and other related housing expenses (e.g., utility assistance)

View Homeowner Assistance Fund allocations.

Search for Homeowner Assistance Fund Programs by state.

HUD

HUD Seal

View CPD Program Formula Allocations and CARES Act Supplemental Funding for FY 2020 to explore how grantees are implementing the program funds.

Community Development Block Grant – CARES Act (CDBG-CV)
$5 billion

Congress provided $5 billion in the CARES Act for CDBG programs to states, metropolitan cities, urban counties, and insular areas. Jurisdictions have a lot of flexibility in how they use their block granted funding, so eligible activities may vary among grantees.

To be eligible for CDBG-CV, all funded activities must be carried out to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
Eligible CDBG Entitlement and CDBG State activities include:

  • Public service activities
  • Housing-related activities
  • Public improvements and facilities
  • Activities to acquire real property
  • Economic development activities
  • General administrative and planning activities

Activities must benefit residents within the jurisdiction of the grantee or as permitted by the CARES Act.

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Emergency rent or mortgage assistance and utility payments for up to six consecutive months.
  • Housing counseling is an eligible activity.

Find a grantee by HUD program
(search by state and/or HUD program).

Emergency Housing Vouchers
$5 billion

Congress appropriated funding through ARPA, to be used for incremental emergency vouchers and renewals of these vouchers, fees for the cost of administering the voucher program and leasing expenses, such as security deposit related to housing retention, and increases in voucher per-unit costs.

Eligible activities include housing vouchers for those who are:

  • Homeless, recently homeless who need rental assistance, at risk of homelessness as defined under the McKinney-Vento Act
  • Fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, as defined by HUD

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Emergency rental assistance vouchers

Find EHV awardees.

Emergency Solutions Grant – CARES Act (ESG-CV)
$3.96 billion

ESG recipients typically consult with their local Continuums of Care to determine how to use ESG-CV funds in their communities for homeless prevention. Jurisdictions have a lot of flexibility in how they use their block granted funding, so eligible activities may vary among grantees.

To be eligible for ESG-CV, all funded activities must be carried out to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

The ESG program provides funding to:

  • Engage homeless individuals and families living on the street
  • Improve the number and quality of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families
  • Help operate these shelters
  • Provide essential services to shelter residents
  • Rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families
  • Prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless

Funds can be used for eligible activities such as emergency rental assistance. ESG-CV funding cannot be used for emergency rental payments until after the CDC eviction moratorium expires.

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Funds may be used to pay for incentivizing landlords to rent to individuals or families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, including up to three times the rent charged for the unit, signing bonuses, security deposits, repairing damages, and costs of extra cleaning or maintenance.
  • Funds can be used for emergency rental assistance.
  • Housing counseling is an eligible activity.

Find a grantee by HUD program (search by state and/or HUD program).

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS – CARES Act (HOPWA-CV)
$65 million

HUD grants funds to local communities, States, and nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

HOPWA grantees offer eligible activities to HOPWA eligible households in need of housing services related to COVID-19.

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Permanent housing placement
  • Housing counseling is an eligible activity
  • Emergency rental assistance

Find a grantee by HUD program (search by state and/or HUD program).

Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP)
$1 million (ARPA added $20 million)

Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP)
$1.5 million

Supplemental COVID-19 FHIP and FHAP funds were awarded to help organizations address potential fair housing issues related to COVID-19 and create and disseminate fair housing education and outreach materials as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update: An additional $20 million is available until September 30, 2023.

FHIP eligible activities developing and distributing educational material and conducting educational activities that inform people of their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.

FHAP eligible activities include partnering with community organizations to conduct COVID-19 related education and outreach to people of different backgrounds, contracting with qualified organizations to conduct fair housing testing, and establishing hotlines or websites for fair housing issues. Read the FHAP CARES Act press releases from September 2020 and June 2020.

Housing counselors can search for FHIP and FHAP organizations to learn how funding is being applied in their community.

Find FHIP organizations and FHAP agencies (search by state).

Housing Stability Counseling Program
$100 million

Congress appropriated funding through ARPA, 40 percent of which shall be provided to counseling organizations that:

  • Target housing counseling services to minority and low-income populations facing housing instability; or
  • Provide housing counseling services in neighborhoods having high concentrations of minority and low-income populations.

Eligible applicants include HUD participating intermediaries, state housing finance agencies or NeighborWorks network organizations.

Eligible activities include:

  • Housing counseling provided directly to households facing housing instability, such as eviction, default, foreclosure, loss of income, or homelessness
  • Education, outreach, training, technology upgrades, and other program related support
  • Operational oversight funding for grantees and subgrantees

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Housing counseling
  • Group education

NeighborWorks is administering the Housing Stability Counseling Program.

Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG)
$300 million
(ARPA added $750 million, $5 for Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Programs)

The IHBG program allocates formula funding to Tribes or Tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) for the delivery of a range of affordable housing opportunities and housing-related activities to low- and moderate-income members of Federally recognized Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, and native Hawaiians.

The ICDBG Program provides eligible grantees with direct grants for use in developing viable Indian and Alaska Native Communities, including decent housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities, primarily for low- and moderate-income persons.

Eligible activities could include:

  • Housing activities
  • Public facilities and infrastructure
  • Public services

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Up to six months of emergency rental assistance and utility assistance (including internet access to allow children to engage in distance learning)
  • Up to 3 months of mortgage assistance
  • Housing counseling is an eligible activity

Find tribes and TDHES (search by region).

Find ARPA Allocations.

Find Native Hawaiian (NHHBG) contacts.

Homelessness Assistance and Supportive Services Program
(Distributed through the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program)
$5 billion

Congress provided funding through ARPA via the HOME Program for homelessness assistance, supportive services, and affordable housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Funding will be allocated pursuant to the 2021 HOME formula to states, metropolitan cities, urban counties, and insular areas. HUD will allocate funds within 30 days of enactment of ARPA.

Eligible activities include housing activities pursuant to the HOME Program and housing and supportive services activities under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

Eligible activities include:

  • Tenant-based rental assistance (TBRA)
  • Rental housing development
  • Supportive services including housing counseling and homeless prevention services
  • The acquisition and development of non-congregate shelter units (all or a portion of which may be converted to permanent housing)

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Up to two years of tenant based rental assistance
  • Housing counseling is an eligible activity

Find supplemental allocations.

Find a grantee by HUD program
(search by state and/or HUD program).

Health and Human Services (HHS)

HHS Seal

Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)
$1 billion

CSBG funds are a block grant to states, 90 percent of which goes to local designated Community Action Agencies. These agencies provide a broad array of programs and services to help low-income communities and individuals or families with incomes at or below 125 percent of the Federal poverty threshold to address the causes and conditions of poverty. Jurisdictions have a lot of flexibility in how they use their block granted funding, so eligible activities may vary among grantees.

Eligible activities include helping clients obtain and maintain adequate housing and emergency assistance to address and prevent economic instability.

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • Housing counseling is an eligible activity

Find your State Official and Program Coordinator (search by state).

Find a Community Action Agency (search by name, zip code, state, or county).

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
$4.5 billion

Congress appropriated funding through ARPA. LIHEAP helps households with energy costs, including those associated with home energy costs. For this supplemental allocation, Home Energy Grants will be granted to states. In addition, supplemental payments to states will also be made.

Eligible activities include help for home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization, and energy-related minor home repairs.

Eligible activities include help with utility bills.

See a list of grantees at the state and territory or tribal level.

See a list of LIHEAP Local Providers for a list of local intake agencies in each county.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA Seal

Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)
$200 million

This needs-based program administered by FEMA provides shelter, food, and supportive services to individuals, families, and households who are experiencing or at risk of hunger and/or homelessness. The program is governed by a National Board that uses a formula to allocate funds to counties and cities with the highest need for food and shelter assistance. Local Boards award funds to local recipient organizations that provide program services.

View EFSP CARES Act Uses and Reporting.

Local private or public organizations that receive EFSP funds may use these funds to provide the following services:

  • Food in the form of served meals or groceries.
  • 30-days of lodging in a mass shelter, a hotel or motel or another off-site shelter facility.
  • Transportation costs associated food or shelter.
  • Minor emergency repairs of small equipment essential to mass feeding or sheltering (up to $300 per item).
  • Emergency repairs to comply with building code citations and expenses to make facilities accessible for individuals with disabilities for mass care feeding or sheltering facilities (up to $2,500).
  • Supplies and small equipment essential to feed or shelter people (up to $300 per item).

Uses specific to housing counseling include:

  • One month rent or mortgage assistance to assist people leaving shelters to establish stable living conditions

Find your Local Board (search by state and jurisdiction – county or city).

Learn more about state and local CARES Act allocations.

Other options to search for state or local program grantees

NCSHA State HFA Emergency Housing Assistance Programs: Search by state Housing Finance Agency.

NLIHC COVID-19 Rental Assistance Database: Search by state, city, county, or locality.

Legal Help FAQ on Evictions and Renter Protections (includes financial assistance): Search by state, county, or city.

Download the chart.


Housing Counseling COVID-19 Resources

Select each category to view resources by topic area.

Resource Title Author and Date Published Description

FHA Publishes Mortgagee Letter 2022-07, Update to the COVID-19 Recovery Loss Mitigation Options

HUD | April 18, 2022

The Mortgagee Letter 2022-07, Update to the COVID-19 Recovery Loss Mitigation Options, enables mortgagees to provide a 40-year loan modification with a partial claim option to assist struggling homeowners that are behind on their mortgage payments. The policy is designed to help homeowners reach the targeted 25 percent reduction on the monthly principal and interest portion on their mortgage payment when other COVID-19 Recovery Loss Mitigation Options are unable to do so. Through the 40-year loan modification with a partial claim, more homeowners can retain their homes and avoid foreclosure.

Partial Waiver of 24 CFR § 214.300(a)(3) In-Person Service Housing Counseling Requirement

HUD | February 7, 2022

HUD issued a waiver stating that all agencies participating in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program may provide housing counseling in the office of the housing counseling agency, at an alternate location, or by telephone, as long as mutually acceptable to the housing counselor and client. This temporary waiver is in effect through December 31, 2022.

FHA Issues Technical Update to COVID-19 Extension of First Legal Action and Reasonable Diligence Time Frame Deadlines

HUD | February 7, 2022

The Mortgagee Letter 2022-02, Technical Update to the Extension of the Deadlines for the First Legal Action and Reasonable Diligence Time Frame, provides a technical update to clarify the extension of the deadlines for the first legal action and Reasonable Diligence Time Frame that was last announced in Mortgagee Letter 2021-15.

The FHA is clarifying the prior deadline extensions, which provide flexibility to mortgagees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mortgagee Letter details that the first legal deadline and Reasonable Diligence Time Frame are extended by 180 days from the later of either:

  • The expiration of the foreclosure moratorium for FHA-insured Single Family Mortgages
  • The expiration of the borrower’s COVID-19 forbearance or the HECM COVID-19 extension period

FHA Announces Temporary Partial Waivers to Its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Policy for Borrowers Impacted by COVID-19

HUD | September 2, 2021

The Temporary Partial Waiver of Maximum Arrearage for Subsequent HECM Property Charge Repayment Plan is a temporary partial waiver of Mortgagee Letter 2015-11. It allows mortgagees to offer repayment plans to HECM borrowers with unpaid property charges regardless of their total outstanding arrearage and is effective through June 30, 2022.

The Temporary Partial Waiver - HECM Eligibility for Assignment during the 3 Year Period COVID-19 is a temporary partial waiver of Mortgagee Letter 2016-07. It permits mortgagees to seek assignment of a HECM immediately after using their own funds to pay unpaid property taxes and insurance on or after March 1, 2020. Additionally, it eliminates the three-year waiting period for such assignments. The waiver is effective through June 30, 2022.

Clarification on Client File Requirements in a Remote Counseling Environment

HUD | February 10, 2021

OHC has received inquiries from housing counseling agencies regarding file management and recordkeeping in a remote environment. OHC seeks to highlight flexibility regarding client signature collection, disclosures, credit reports, and other financial analysis documents while conducting remote counseling or delivering remote group education. This guidance addresses HUD requirements. Housing counselors should consult their agency leadership, Intermediary, State Housing Finance Authority (SHFA), or others to clarify additional internal policy and processes for client file management and recordkeeping.

COVID-19 FAQs for Housing Counselors

HUD | June 1, 2020

These FAQs provide guidance for housing counselors on Housing Counseling Program guidance during COVID-19. Topics covered include remote counseling, temporary suspension of activities, eligible costs, and more.

The following COVID-19 resources have been released by HUD and other federal agencies and cover consumer protection information, HUD guidance, and other options that may be helpful for housing counselors to understand and share with their clients.

Resource Title Author Description

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) COVID-19 Resources

CFPB

The CFPB has posted the following resources to help homeowners and renters during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) COVID-19 Resources

FHA

View COVID-19 guidance from FHA, including:

View the FHA Info announcement archive.

 

COVID-19 Outreach Materials for HUD Participating Housing Counseling Agencies

HUD OHC

OHC released electronic outreach materials in February 2021 to assist HUD participating housing counseling agencies with their client outreach on the web and social media.

COVID-19 Frauds and Scams: Guide for Housing Counselors

HUD OHC

Due to the COVID-19 national emergency, as well as other disasters and emergencies, scams and frauds are surfacing that target individuals in vulnerable situations. This guide will assist housing counselors in helping their clients cautiously navigate suspicious circumstances.

This guide, originally posted in September 2020, was updated in March 2021 to include additional information on vaccine-related scams and economic impact payments.

For more information about vaccine-related scams and cyberattacks, view the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Notice.

COVID Help for Home Campaign

A coalition led by CFPB, Mortgage Bankers Association, American Bankers Association, Housing Policy Council, and NeighborWorks America

This campaign raises awareness to ensure customers who need payment relief due to COVID-19 know that programs are available and who to call. Housing Counselors can use this campaign for mortgage customers experiencing financial stress, especially 1) customers who are behind in their payments, but have not reached out for help and 2) customers who are in a forbearance plan but don’t fully understand their options when the payment relief ends.

FEMA Resource Roadmaps

FEMA

The purpose of the COVID-19 Housing Resource Roadmap is to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders and stakeholders with navigating some of the challenges and resources associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This document describes how supplemental appropriated funds, in particular under the CARES Act and certain ongoing annually funded federal programs, can be used to implement potential solutions.

HUD.gov Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

HUD

Find HUD and FHA resources and guidance related to COVID-19 for program participants across HUD programs, as well as homeowners and renters.

Fannie Mae Assistance Options for Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19

Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae shares information with those impacted by COVID-19 of available mortgage assistance and relief options.

Freddie Mac COVID-19 Response

Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac staff is working to ensure that its employees, customers, and borrowers are protected from the direct and indirect impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). Read Freddie Mac's #HelpStartsHere Interactive Guide for Homeowners that provides information and resources on how mortgage servicers can help clients that have experienced job loss, reduced income, illness or other issues related to COVID-19 that impacts their ability to make their monthly mortgage payments; understanding forbearance and if it’s the right option; and avoiding scams such as “foreclosure rescue fraud.”

Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Coronavirus Resources

FTC

The FTC is protecting consumers, providing guidance to businesses, and protecting competition in the marketplace throughout the pandemic. Helpful resources include:

U.S. Department of the Treasury: Assistance for Small Businesses

U.S. Treasury

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) COVID-19 Information

OCC

The OCC is working cooperatively with all state and federal banking agencies and other organizations to regulated institutions and their customers in managing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Helpful resources include:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Updated Guidance for Direct Loan Borrowers Impacted by COVID-19

USDA

This notice announces the removal of the September 30, 2021 deadline for COVID-19 impacted Direct Loan borrowers to request mortgage payment assistance. Direct Loan Borrowers may request assistance until the end of the National Emergency is declared. Other USDA Rural Development resources include:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) COVID-19 Home Retention Waterfall

VA

This VA waterfall outlines the home retention options for helping borrowers affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit the Disaster and Emergency News and Resources for Housing Counselors page for information, resources, and guidance that can assist housing counselors with response and recovery efforts specific to disasters and emergencies.