Puerto Rico reaches milestone in Puerto Rico Homeowner Assistance Program
Over 86 percent of funds disbursed to more than 8,000 homeowners to prevent mortgage delinquencies and loss of utilities
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 13, 2023 – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s approval of Puerto Rico’s Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) Plan in December 2021 authorized the use of $75.6 million through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The Puerto Rico HAF funds, managed by Innovative Emergency Management, Inc. (IEM) under contract to the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority (PRHFA), are assisting to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of Puerto Rican homeowners experiencing financial hardship before and continuing after January 21, 2020.
Ricardo Álvarez, Auxiliary Executive Director for Single Family Projects, noted that more than 8,000 homeowners facing financial hardships have been assisted through the Puerto Rico Homeowner Assistance Program (PRHAP). The Program provided a series of assistance options for eligible homeowners up to the program cap of $21,000. To date, PRHFA, alongside their project manager, have disbursed more than 86 percent of the funds and awarded more than 90 percent of the total allocated funds.
PRHAP started accepting applications in December 2021. According to Auxiliary Executive Director Álvarez, “originally, PRHAP aimed to assist at least 5,000 homeowners throughout Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities; fortunately, PRHFA was able to exceed this goal with IEM’s assistance and serve more than 8,000 homeowners.”
Auxiliary Executive Director Álvarez noted that “We are very proud of our efforts to date, although we realize that there are more homeowners to assist. Our agency is diligently working to identify new funds that would allow us to continue assisting more Puerto Rican homeowners. We met with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and other key agencies to identify additional funds to be able to continue assisting Puerto Ricans.”
Pamela Patenaude, former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary and Senior Executive Advisor for IEM said that “the success of this program in Puerto Rico is due to the creation of program policies that mirror Treasury guidance and the onboarding of seasoned professionals. With these guiding principles in place, the PRHAP team was able to establish critical partnerships with servicers and lenders to quickly and efficiently process payments to help keep Puerto Ricans in their homes. Puerto Rico was recognized by the National Council of State Housing Agencies as the first HAF program to fully launch. IEM takes pride in collaborating with PRHFA to ensure that the greatest number of homeowners benefit from the PRHAP funds.”
PRHAP has a public dashboard on its website that allows users to interact and see the most up-to-date statistics and results of the Program. To learn more about the Puerto Rico Homeowner Assistance Program visit www.COVIDHipotecas.com.