April 1, 2021 — Issue Brief

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes $9.9 billion for creation of a Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) to be administered by the Treasury Department. The HAF was established to mitigate financial hardships connected with the coronavirus pandemic and prevent foreclosures among homeowners who have experienced a hardship related to the pandemic.

Treasury’s HAF plan template should provide for reinstatement of property charges for reverse mortgage borrowers. As explained below, reverse mortgage borrowers badly need this assistance, and helping this population of borrowers to avoid foreclosure would fulfill both the letter and the spirit of the American Rescue Plan. Reverse mortgage borrowers have been severely impacted by the pandemic, have few other viable options to save their homes, and consist of low-income and socially disadvantaged borrowers intended to be prioritized for this relief.