HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) officially launched the Texas Homeowner Assistance Fund yesterday.

The program was initiated as a pilot program in Hidalgo County and is now available across Texas.

“The Homeowner Assistance Fund is a federal funding source from the American Rescue Plan Act and it’s to help people who are behind on their mortgage or behind on property taxes, or even maybe either their homeowner’s insurance or HOA fees,” explained TDHCA’s executive director, Bobby Wilkinson.

He said the fund has already distributed $5 million dollars, but there are still opportunities to help others.

“We were appropriated $834 million dollars from Treasury. Portions of that will go to homeowner counseling, and some admin and some intake centers to help people apply but so far we have $700 million just set aside for the mortgage assistance,” he said.

He explained that some qualifications are showing proof of homeownership and the home must be the applicant’s primary place of residence.

Applicants must also fall below 100% of the area median income, according to Wilkinson.

“It is a requirement that you have been financially affected by the pandemic in some way. There is no paperwork for that, it’s just a self-attestation,” he said.

He said applicants can qualify for up to $65,000 per household.

“We have a cap of $40,000 in past-due mortgage payments and up to $25,000 in past due to property taxes or insurance or HOA fees,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson is expecting that 50,000 to 80,000 households will receive assistance.

“Give us a little time to get the money to you, let the process work, and we’ll get you caught up and help you keep your house,” he said.

For details on the program’s requirements, you can visit the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs website.