DFA NEWS RELEASE
The State of New Mexico has brought two programs that provide housing aid under one consolidated program to simplify access to emergency housing assistance funds. The newly created New Mexico Home Fund helps homeowners and renters in New Mexico that have been financially impacted during the pandemic cover housing expenses and avoid eviction or foreclosure. The NM Home Fund combines the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) and Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and can be accessed at nmhomefund.org.
“My administration has been focused on helping New Mexico residents through these past difficult years. As part of that support, over $167 million in assistance has been provided to renters in just the past 15 months,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Through these expanded efforts, we will be able to provide support to renters and homeowners. Throughout the life of this program, we have been consistently recognized nationally for our innovative approaches to address housing during the pandemic. This consolidated effort is another example of our forward thinking.”
Over the past two years, New Mexico has been acknowledged by the Federal Government for innovation in rental assistance. This included being the first state to administer a bulk distribution program for utility aid, having the longest-running Court ordered moratorium on evictions during the pandemic, and having an expansive and inclusive housing stability program.
“We’ve been listening to our community partners, and our mission is to simplify the process as best we can for the applicant so they can stay in their homes,” said Cabinet Secretary Debbie Romero. “Having all emergency housing assistance under one roof just makes sense. This is just one of many steps in our effort to keep people housed. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be launching other components of a larger strategy across the state.”
Aid for renters was first made available in April 2021 through a collaboration between the Department of Finance and Administration and the City of Albuquerque. Since that time over $167M in rent, utility, and relocation aid has been provided to New Mexico renters. Additionally, innovative eviction prevention efforts have also been funded by the NM Home Fund. This has included free legal representation for renters through NM Legal Aid as well as the Eviction Prevention and Diversion program which provides meditation between landlords and renters facing eviction.
The state subsequently applied to and received $55M in federal funds to provide support for homeowners. The Homeowner Assistance Program is now being administered by the State in partnership with the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA).
“MFA is proud to play such a big part in providing aid to fellow New Mexicans and to help them remain housed,” said Isidoro “Izzy” Hernandez, Executive Director and CEO of the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority. “For nearly 50 years we have been working to ensure that all New Mexicans have quality affordable housing opportunities. Administering the Homeowner Assistance Program for the NM Home Fund will be an important part of our history.“
The homeowner portion of the NM Home Fund helps New Mexicans avoid foreclosure due to financial hardship caused during the pandemic. Eligible homeowners can receive assistance for past due mortgage payments, including payments in forbearance, as well as property taxes, home insurance, utilities, and other associated housing expenses. As with rental assistance, this support does not have to be repaid. To date the program has provided over $8M to 1,317 households.
Under the rental program, renters can receive assistance for past, current, and future rent as well as utility payments for up to 15 months. The program has awarded rent aid in every county in New Mexico with 76,068 in awards totaling $167,089,060.84
General eligibility requirements for homeowners:
- Applicants must occupy the home as a primary residence
- They must have experienced a financial hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic
- Have incomes equal to or less than 150% of the area median income
- Original loan balance cannot exceed $417,000.00
General eligibility requirements for renters:
- Be a renter in New Mexico
- Have an annual household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income
- Have been affected financially during the COVID-19 pandemic
- At risk of eviction or housing instability
Funding for the New Mexico Home Fund has been made available by the U.S. Treasury. Funding for both programs is available until September 2025 or until program funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
Individuals interested in applying for assistance may visit www.nmhomefund.org.