DEO awards $555 in relief, continues to assist Florida
homeowners through newly available housing counseling services
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) today highlights the accomplishments of its nation-leading Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program, serving approximately 28,500 of the state’s most vulnerable households, representing $555 million in awards at the program’s end.
This milestone represents Florida’s incredibly successful effort to mitigate financial hardships, prevent foreclosures, and keep Floridians in their homes. According to publicly available data, Florida is the first state in the nation to complete its direct assistance program, obligating all available funding in less than 11 months. Additionally, DEO continues to assist Florida homeowners through newly available housing counseling services.
“Direct assistance through Florida’s HAF program is helping approximately 28,500 Floridians prevent foreclosure and stay in their homes so they can continue to go to work, take care of their loved ones, and send their children to school – this is an incredible accomplishment for Florida and great news for our state’s families.” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle . “As funding through Florida’s HAF program is exhausted, we are reminding Florida homeowners of the variety of resources DEO offers to support them as they manage their housing expenses. Florida homeowners in need are encouraged to seek opportunities for assistance through the Florida HAF program’s housing counseling services, the Community Services Block Grant, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program.”
Florida’s HAF program, launched in 2022, became a model for the nation by providing the state’s most vulnerable homeowners with better, faster assistance than any other state in the nation, awarding more than states like California and New York, combined. To date, the program has prevented 375 active foreclosures for Florida homeowners with an average award of more than $19,000.
DEO implemented a robust outreach strategy to reach homeowners in the most need, deploying boots on the ground to build and strengthen community partnerships in underserved and minority communities. Outreach efforts for the HAF program were strategically designed to prioritize reaching minority populations eligible for assistance and supporting them through the application process.
Efforts were coordinated with over 100 local partners to conduct outreach at churches of various denominations, homeowner association meetings, veteran-service organization meetings, and local government meetings, community centers, and community-based organizations providing social services, such as family enrichment and food assistance.
Since May 1, 2022, 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 sessions
Florida homeowners who have received assistance through the HAF program have expressed their appreciation for Florida’s expedited administration of the program. See what Florida homeowners are saying:
- Adrian from Parrish
- Connie from Clearwater
- Tenecia from Wellington
- Dwana from Tampa
- Liliana from Coconut Creek and Freddie from Orlando
- James from Cape Coral
- Karina from Davenport
- Desiree from Orlando
- Rhonda from Gibsonton
- Bruce from Lake Worth
- Yicel from Lake Worth Beach and Keionya from Brooksville
- Aaron from Ruskin
- Travonda from Titusville
- Steven from Plantation
- Jessica from Perry
- Ariel from Ruskin
DEO recently highlighted the availability of housing counseling services through the HAF program to assist homeowners who applied for or received assistance through the program, as well as non-applicants, including Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian. Housing counseling services are offered by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-certified counselors to assist homeowners in working with their mortgage servicers to prevent foreclosures and remain in their homes. Examples of services include assistance with budgeting and financial planning, and advice on home purchases, defaults, and credit issues. Counselors will also host individual and group educational workshops on topics including financial literacy and the importance of good credit.
Homeowners interested in counseling services may request to be contacted by a HUD-certified housing counselor, contact the Homeowner Assistance Fund Customer Assistance Center at 833-987-8997, Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Eastern Time), or email [email protected].
Florida’s HAF program highlights include:
- 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, months after other states like California. The Needs Assessment and Plan was submitted to the U.S. Treasury on August 20, 2021. Despite federal delays, Florida led the nation, providing the most relief, assisting the most homeowners, and stopping imminent foreclosures, all faster than any other state in the nation.
- 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.
- On September 27, 2022, DEO closed the in-person Customer Assistance Centers.
- On October 14, 2022, DEO announced more than $434 million in relief has been awarded to Floridians through the state’s Homeowner Assistance Fund.
- On November 4, 2022, DEO announced that the HAF program awarded more than California, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania combined.
- On December 16, 2022, DEO highlighted $20 million in housing counseling services available to Florida homeowners through the Florida HAF program.
Additional resources are available to assist eligible households 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. To learn more about additional resources, contact the Homeowner Assistance Fund Customer Assistance Center or visit www.FLHomeownerAssistance.org.
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.