December 5, 2022

Press Release

Florida's Nation-Leading HAF Program Awards Over $380 Million in Relief to the State's Most Vulnerable Homeowners

| 9/19/2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that Florida's nation-leading Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program has awarded over $380 million in relief to assist 15,664 of the state's most vulnerable homeowners with their mortgage and other homeowner expenses, with more than $13 million awarded this week alone. DEO continues to assist applicants on an expedited timeline. As we are seeing a reduced number of applicants seeking assistance through the in-person HAF Customer Assistance Centers, the following updates will be made to the center's operations:  Customer Assistance Center locations will limit their days of operation to Monday - Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Customer Assistance Center locations in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, Tallahassee, and Pensacola will remain open through 5:00 p.m., on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, and will close permanently on Thursday, September 29, 2022. All applicants can still get assistance by calling 833-987-8997, or emailing HomeownerAssistanceFund@DEO.MyFlorida.com.

"Every day, we hear from Florida homeowners about how the HAF program has helped them keep their families in their homes and how our team's quick action has stopped active foreclosures," said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. "The DEO team continues to expedite relief to Florida homeowners and stands ready to assist applicants and approved Florida homeowners."

Aaron Ruskin, FL

“I was excited to learn that I have been approved. I lost employment, and these funds from the Florida Homeowner Assistance Fund Program were very beneficial in helping me pay my mortgage.”

RESOURCES FOR APPLICANTS Floridians who are seeking assistance with the status of their applications should be aware of scams, including individuals who ask for cash in exchange for assistance or access to your account information. We encourage those who have questions regarding their funding to call the Homeowner Assistance Fund Customer Assistance Center at 833-987-8997. Florida HAF's Customer Assistance Center has answered more than 146,000 incoming calls, assisting Floridians with their questions. Also, Florida HAF's Customer Assistance Center has made more than 27,000 outbound calls to respond to inquiries and ensure homeowners were able to find the link sent to them and access their application so they could complete their application. DEO remains committed to expediting relief to the state's most vulnerable homeowners until available funding is exhausted and working closely with mortgage lenders and service providers to ensure payments are applied to homeowners' accounts timely and accurately. 

For Florida homeowners with unmet needs, other resources are available to assist eligible individuals with utility bills and other homeowner expenses through the Community Services Block Grant, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the  Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program. UPDATES FOR CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE CENTERS

  • Beginning on Monday, September 19, 2022, the days of operation for the remaining Customer Assistance Center locations in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, and Tallahassee will change to Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, all in-person Customer Assistance Centers will permanently close. 

For HAF applicants and homeowners who have received funding, assistance is still available by calling 833-987-8997 Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Eastern Time. Additional resources for applicants are available at www.FLHomeownerAssistance.org

PROGRAM OUTREACH AND TRANSPARENCY

The state of Florida is running the most transparent HAF program in the nation. Various outreach and transparency initiatives have been undertaken through case management, earned and paid advertising, and information sharing on DEO's FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn  accounts to encourage eligible Floridians to register or apply for assistance and to assist them throughout the registration and application process. A total of 874 outreach events were facilitated through: 

  • 414 information-sharing events. 
  • 300 high-traffic canvassing opportunities.  
  • 123 speaking engagements.  
  • 25 pop-up registration support events.
  • 12 virtual information session.

Florida's HAF program outreach efforts were coordinated with: 

  • Over 258 faith-based organizations that have broad reach across the state. 
  • Community-based organizations providing social services, such as senior centers, food pantries, congregate meal sites.
  • The Florida Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, which has Minority Health Liaisons in each of Florida’s 67 counties.
  • Fraternities and sororities that have a focus on community awareness and action through educational, economic, and cultural service activities.
  • The network of Florida Urban League Affiliates, providing services in 19 counties across the State of Florida, representing two-thirds of the State's population.

Additionally, DEO has taken the following steps to keep Florida HAF program applicants informed

  • May 6 - June 10, 2022, DEO sent out a weekly press release inviting homeowners to register for the program and provided details to homeowners on how to do so. 
  • Beginning June 10, 2022, to present, Florida HAF applicants receive an email on a weekly basis notifying them that their application was submitted and was under review. 
  • June 14 - July 25, 2022, DEO conducted an outbound call campaign to supplement email outreach to approximately 13,000 applicants who were invited to apply but who had not submitted their applications. 
  • June 17 - July 29, 2022, DEO sent out a weekly press release inviting homeowners to register and apply for assistance through the program and provided details on how to do so, and announcing that the last day to register for the program was July 30, 2022. 
  • On August 5, August 17, August 22, and August 25, 2022, DEO sent out an email correspondence to applicants who were invited to apply, but who had not completed and submitted their application, encouraging them to submit their application.
  • August 5 - August 26, 2022, DEO sent out a weekly press release inviting homeowners to apply for the program and provided details to homeowners on how to do so.

Based on the funds allocated to Florida, and our tremendous outreach to Floridians, the HAF program received more Tier 1 applications than funding allocated to Florida. While this is great news that we will spend all the available funds and maximize the number of Floridians served, this means we may not be able to serve every applicant. 

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PREVIOUS PROGRAM UPDATES

  • On February 9, 2022, DEO received approval of the state of Florida's Homeowner Assistance Fund Needs Assessment and Plan from the United States Department of the Treasury (U.S. Treasury) to implement the state's HAF program for eligible homeowners. The Needs Assessment and Plan was submitted to the U.S. Treasury on August 20, 2021.
  • Prior to the approval of the state’s HAF Needs Assessment and Plan, DEO began utilizing 10 percent of the allocated funding to launch the Homeowner Assistance Fund Pilot Program in November 2021, in accordance with U.S. Treasury guidance. The state of Florida was one of 12 states to proactively launch a HAF Pilot Program while waiting for the U.S. Treasury to approve its Needs Assessment and Plan.
  • On February 28, 2022, DEO initiated Phase 2 of the HAF program by opening registration for prospective applicants. Applicants determined eligible through the registration process are currently receiving unique application links by email to apply for up to $50,000 in assistance.
  • On June 24, 2022, DEO reached a key milestone – awarding more than $100 million to assist Florida's vulnerable homeowners. 
  • On July 22, 2022, DEO announced more than $213 million in relief has been awarded to Floridians through the state's Homeowner Assistance Fund.
  • On July 30, 2022, DEO closed program registration to assist homeowners who have already completed their registration or are currently applying for assistance through the program.
  • On August 26, 2022, DEO closed the program application to assist homeowners who have applied for assistance through the program.

About HAF

Florida's Homeowner Assistance Fund is designed to mitigate financial hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic by preventing homeowners’ mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, and displacements, as well as by providing assistance with home energy services, internet, property and/or flood insurance, property taxes, and homeowner or condominium association fees. Eligible Florida homeowners may receive up to $50,000 in assistance.

About DEO
 
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce, and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org.

 

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