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Mortgage assistance program aims to help Hamilton County homeowners behind on payments

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Posted at 7:01 PM, Oct 28, 2021

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — Hamilton County is offering a new assistance program to help homeowners struggling from the pandemic.

County commissioners announced the Mortgage and Utility Relief Program Thursday, which allocates $5 million in CARES Act funding to help homeowners who are behind on payments.

“We’ve helped thousands of renters, small businesses and nonprofits; this is the first time we’ve directly helped homeowners who are struggling to keep their homes due to the pandemic,” Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas said.

To qualify, the homeowner must live in Hamilton County and make at or below 80% area median income. For a four-person household, that’s $68,3000. The homeowner must have proof of a missed mortgage or utility payment and be able to prove a layoff or reduced income due to the pandemic.

Funds will be distributed by Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

“Any income loss on or after March 2020 affects eligibility," said Kevin Holt, JFS director. "So if somebody has gotten into a hole and they’ve been caught up a bit but they’re fallen behind one month in their home mortgage, we can help them."

Despite being a year-and-a-half into the pandemic, Stephanie Moes with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati said the need for assistance is still very real.

“Homeowners throughout Southwest Ohio are definitely struggling with mortgage and utility needs at the time,” Moes said. “People are sharing that they have had periods of unemployment. Sometimes they’re able to go back to work, but then another period of slowed work. Or sometimes quarantining, needing to take care of a child who is quarantining. All of that results in struggles to make mortgage payments.”

To apply, visit 513relief.org.