The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the economy in unprecedented ways. With 30 million Americans unemployed, homeowners and renters are struggling to continue making housing payments. States are responding in different ways, but Arizona governor Doug Ducey on April 1st announced the Save Our Home AZ (SOHAZ) program. This aims to assist financially impacted homeowners through the length of the crisis.
Here is everything you need to know about Save Our Home AZ.
What is Save Our Home AZ?
The Save Our Home AZ (SOHAZ) program, on behalf of the Arizona Home Foreclosure Prevention Funding Corporation, provides financial assistance and housing protection to unemployed and underemployed Arizona residents. The program is an effort to combat the economic implications arising under the COVID-19 pandemic. Principal Reduction Assistance, Monthly Mortgage Subsidy Assistance and Second Lien Elimination Assistance are available to those who qualify.
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets. The goal of the program is to help Arizona homeowners avoid foreclosure by making mortgage payments more affordable, which is why lender involvement may be required.
A related executive order passed by Governor Ducey, Executive Order 2020-14, also states that renters whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 may not be evicted under particular circumstances. This includes those who are required to be quarantined, have demonstrated they have a health condition that makes them more at risk for COVID-19 than the average person, or has otherwise suffered “substantial loss of income” through, among other things, joblessness, closure of employment, or “other pertinent circumstances.” The executive order will remain in place for 120 days.
Who Qualifies for SOHAZ?
Qualification for the SOHAZ program is based on a variety of factors surrounding the terms of one’s mortgage and loss of income. In general, primary residences—single family dwellings, condos, townhouses and buildings with one to four units—may qualify. Homeowners seeking unemployed or underemployed payment assistance must document a 10% or greater reduction of income and be either (a) current on mortgage payments, provided they are at imminent risk of default, or otherwise (b) two months delinquent. The mortgage assistance may not exceed $500,000, but the payments must exceed 31% of the borrower’s gross pre-tax income. Household gross income may not exceed 150% of the median county income.
Bear in mind that other restrictions and qualifications may apply. Importantly, homeowners may need to act quickly under particular circumstances. In order to seek relief, the homeowner must be no less than at least 30 days from the date of a validly noticed trustee sale date.
How Can I Seek Assistance?
Homeowners who qualify for financial support through the Save Our Home program can start by filling out a self-assessment online. Renters can similarly fill out a qualification self-assessment. A housing counselor will be in contact within seven days to discuss options moving forward.
Questions about these programs may be directed to the Arizona Department of Housing, which is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling (602) 771-1000 or by visiting housing.az.gov. Additionally, the Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Hotline is taking calls at 877-448-1211.
What Other Steps Have Been Taken?
In addition to the SOHAZ program, Governor Ducey announced a partnership with Arizona banks to suspend evictions and foreclosures for at least 60 days, or until the state of emergency has passed. The banks agreed to expedite loans for businesses that applied for the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program through the US Small Business Administration.
Ducey also stated that utility providers must continue to service Arizona homes, hospitals and businesses, so residents and employees still get access to reliable electricity during these times of financial hardship.
Find An Experienced Arizona Foreclosure Law Attorney
If you have received notice of a default on your mortgage or have a pending foreclosure, the property will be sold at auction if you do not take immediate steps to resolve the matter with your lender. Our firm can help you consider all your legal options and pursue assistance through the Save Our Home AZ (SOHAZ) program to avoid additional lawsuits or recovery efforts. There may even be options to renegotiate some terms of your loan so you can stay in your home or pursue adequate foreclosure defense. Contact us today at 602-562-7218 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment online.