PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Housing said Friday that paperwork issues with many banks are causing delays in paying out mortgage assistance funding.
The Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) received $197 million in federal funding in November 2021. But the department's dashboard shows only $2 million has been paid out.
The fund is supposed to help homeowners with pandemic-related housing debts, like bills, property taxes, and mortgage payments.
Director Tom Simplot said so far the utility payments are going smoothly, but the mortgage assistance is running into roadblocks.
"We're waiting for the banks and the mortgage companies to come together and get this figured out," Simplot said.
Homeowners apply to the program and are either approved or rejected by the state, Simplot said. If they're approved for mortgage assistance, the application then moves to the bank for completion.
However, every bank has to sign an agreement to participate in the program. And Simplot said many banks haven't done that yet.
"We have hundreds of forms that are sitting out there at the bank that hasn't been returned," Simplot said. "And until they return those forms, they can't release any money."
The HAF has only existed since January, but Simplot said most utilities have managed to sign and return those forms.
Until the banks follow suit, Simplot said the department's hands are tied and the money will sit there, waiting.
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