Homeowner Assistance Fund Rhode Island

Last Updated: 01/06/2023 11:00 a.m.

Reopened January 6, 2023

The Homeowner Assistance Fund Rhode Island (HAF-RI) program has reopened and is accepting applications from eligible Rhode Island homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched on January 10, 2022, the HAF-RI program helps prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. The statewide program helps eligible homeowners impacted by COVID-19 to catch up on mortgage and utility bills and other housing-related costs.

The HAF-RI program was suspended to new applicants in March 2022 due to a high volume of applications. The program has re-opened to new applications to allow eligible Rhode Island homeowners to access the program’s remaining funds.

To date, HAF-RI has provided over $30 million in assistance to help more than 1,200 Rhode Island homeowners remain in their home.

Recertification Form

Applicants who receive assistance via the HAF-RI program will be required to recertify on a quarterly basis that their employment and/or financial status as not changed. The recertification must be completed every 3 (three) months until assistance has ended.

If you are required to recertify your continued need for assistance, click here to download the Recertification Form. Sign and date this form to recertify HAF-RI eligibility.

HAF Program Eligibility Requirements

Homeowner applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for assistance:

  • Your household must be below certain income limits which varies by household size. Click here to view Income Limits.
  • You must own and occupy a 1 to 4-unit dwelling in Rhode Island
  • You must have experienced a COVID-19 related financial hardship after January 21, 2020
    – A financial hardship is a material reduction of income or material increase in expenses*

  • Your original mortgage balance must have been within the conforming loan limit at time of origination.
    –  A conforming loan limit is the maximum mortgage loan established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federally-backed home mortgage companies created by the United States Congress

* A “material” reduction of income = 7% or more reduction; “material” increase in expenses = 7% or more increase in COVID-related documentable expenses. Some examples are medical bills, childcare costs, or funeral expenses. Other expenses may also be considered.

HAF-RI Application Documentation

Required information for the applicant and each household member includes name, date of birth, social security number, employment status and relationship to the homeowner.

Applicants will be required to submit copies of the following:

  1. Government issued Identification – Acceptable forms of ID include:
  • Driver’s License
  • State Issued ID
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Permanent Resident Card
  1. Most recent mortgage statement
  2. Demand Letter or Foreclosure Notice from your Servicer (if applicable)
  3. Household Income Documentation – you will be asked to upload income documentation for all household members 18 years of age or older if they are currently receiving income. Examples include:
    • Paystubs
    • W-2
    • 1099
    • Unemployment Award Letter
    • Social Security Award Letter
    • Pension/Retirement Statements/Letters
    • Disability (Temporary or SSDI) Award Letter
    • Worker’s Compensation Documentation

    *Additional information may be requested from applicants depending on household income. 

Need Assistance completing your application?

If you have any questions or need assistance completing your application, please contact Tri-County Community Action Agency at 401-583-0075 or the RIHousing HelpCenter at 401-457-1130.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for HAF-RI?

Homeowner applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for assistance:

  • Your household must be below certain income limits which varies by household size. Click here to view Income Limits.
  • You must own and occupy a 1 to 4-unit dwelling in Rhode Island
  • You must have experienced a COVID-19 related financial hardship after January 21, 2020
    – A financial hardship is a material reduction of income or material increase in expenses*
  • Your original mortgage balance must have been within the conforming loan limit at time of origination. A conforming loan limit is the maximum mortgage loan established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federally-backed home mortgage companies created by the United States Congress

* A “material” reduction of income = 7% or more reduction; “material” increase in expenses = 7% or more increase in COVID-related documentable expenses. Some examples are medical bills, childcare costs, or funeral expenses. Other expenses may also be considered.

What expenses can HAF-RI assist with?

​HAF-RI can assist with a range of housing-related expenses including:

  • Mortgage arrearages (past owed mortgage payments)
  • Monthly mortgage payments (current mortgage payments)
  • Principal reduction (reduction of original amount borrowed, known as mortgage principal)
  • Property taxes, homeowner association fees, and condominium association fees
  • Payment assistance for utilities, flood or mortgage insurance, and other housing-related expenses 
How much assistance could I qualify for?

Homeowners may be eligible to receive up to $50,000 across all HAF-RI programs. 

Will I be guaranteed funding if I meet the minimum qualifications?

No. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has provided a limited amount of funds to the State of Rhode Island. 

What if my delinquency amount is greater than the HAF-RI maximum amount?

If your delinquency amount is greater than the HAF-RI maximum amount of $50,000, that does not mean you are not eligible.

However, if the Maximum Per Household HAF-RI assistance is not sufficient to bring your mortgage current, eligible homeowners must provide the remainder of the funds or document an approved loss mitigation plan with their loan servicer regarding such shortfall, satisfactory to HAF-RI. If the applicant is unable to provide the additional funds needed or come to a loss mitigation agreement with his or her loan servicer regarding such a shortfall, the applicant is ineligible for HAF-RI assistance.

My mortgage is in forbearance. Could I qualify for assistance?

Yes. You may be eligible for assistance if your mortgage is in forbearance or in deferred payment status.

Am I still eligible to receive assistance if I’m back at work?

Yes.

If you are back at work, but still have outstanding housing related expenses, you may be eligible for assistance. You may also be eligible if you have returned to work but are earning less than you used to.

Do I have to be behind on my mortgage payments to qualify for assistance?

No.

You may qualify for assistance even if you are current on your mortgage if you meet the program eligibility requirements.

I am in bankruptcy right now. Am I still eligible for assistance?

Yes. Bankruptcy does not make you ineligible for assistance. However, your lender/mortgage servicer will require approval from the bankruptcy court for you to participate in HAF-RI and receive assistance.

We recommend that you speak to your bankruptcy attorney about requesting permission from the court.

Does this Program only assist borrowers with RIHousing mortgages?

No.

Any Rhode Island homeowner who meets the eligibility requirements may receive assistance.

I don’t need help with my mortgage, but I have fallen behind on my utility payments. Can I just apply for utility assistance?

To receive utility assistance through HAF-RI, a homeowner must have experienced a COVID-related hardship and meet income qualifications.

If you are a homeowner seeking help for utility costs only, you may qualify for assistance under other programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Click here to learn more >

How do you define “household member”?

A household member is someone who lives in your house the majority of the time. Household members include family members and other individuals living at the property. Household members may or may not be contributing to the household bills. It is essential that everyone in the household is included in the application because the program’s income limits vary according to household size.

Will I receive assistance directly?

In almost all cases, program assistance will be paid directly to your mortgage servicer, utility provider or other entity owed housing-related costs.

Are an applicant’s current net assets considered in addition to the income qualification for HAF-RI?

No. 

Net assets are not reviewed and will not impact whether you qualify for HAF-RI.

Will HAF-RI assistance be considered taxable income by the IRS?

No. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has provided guidance indicating that assistance received through HAF is not considered taxable income for federal tax purposes. You should consult your tax professional with any questions or concerns.

Will certain homeowners be deemed higher priority to receive HAF funds?

Yes. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has stipulated that HAF funds must be distributed to homeowners using certain criteria such as, but not limited to, their income and if they are socially disadvantaged in any way. RIHousing prioritizes homeowners who are socially disadvantaged and homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

What is the definition of a “socially disadvantaged” individual?

The U.S. Treasury defines “socially disadvantaged” as:

“Socially disadvantaged individuals are those whose ability to purchase or own a home has been impaired due to diminished access to credit on reasonable terms as compared to others in comparable economic circumstances, based on disparities in homeownership rates in the HAF participant’s jurisdiction as documented by the U.S. Census. The impairment must stem from circumstances beyond their control. Indicators of impairment under this definition may include being a (1) member of a group that has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society, (2) resident of a majority-minor Census tract; (3) individual 3 with limited English proficiency; (4) resident of a U.S. territory, Indian reservation, or Hawaiian Home Loan, or (5) individual who lives in a persistent-poverty county, meaning any county that has had 20% or more of its population living in poverty over the past 30 years as measured by the three most recent decennial censuses. In addition, an individual may be determined to be a socially disadvantaged individual in accordance with a process developed by a HAF participant for determining whether a homeowner is socially disadvantaged individual in accordance with applicable law, which may reasonably rely on self-attestations.”

Can I get assistance for future payments?

Yes.

If you or someone in your household remain unemployed or underemployed, you may be eligible for future payments. A review of your application is necessary to determine the duration of assistance. If approved, you will be required to recertify your employment and financial situation every three months.

I previously received assistance with my mortgage payments through the HAF-RI program. Can I apply again if I am behind on my mortgage payments?

Yes.

You can apply for assistance if you experienced a new COVID-related hardship. Use your original log-in information to apply for additional assistance.

I previously applied for assistance through the HAF-RI program and was denied. Should I apply again?

You should apply again only if you have experienced a new COVID-related hardship.

I previously applied to HAF-RI but didn’t complete my application and have lost my log-in or password information. What should I do to complete my application?

Your log-in is the email address you originally used to apply; if you forgot your password, you can request a password reset. If you are still having issues, contact HAF-RI at 401-457-1222.

Where can I get help with completing my application?

HAF-RI has partnered with Tri-County Community Action.

For assistance with completing your application, contact a customer service representative at 401-583-0075 or the RIHousing HelpCenter at 401-450-1373. 

I’ve been denied assistance from the HAF-RI program but feel this is in error. Is there a way to appeal the decision?

If you would like to appeal the decision of your HAF-RI application, please fill out the Decisions Appeal Form.  All appeals must be received within 30 calendar days of the decision. 

IMPORTANT: Please upload any documentation to support your appeal to the ‘Documents’ section of your application at www.haf-ri.com under ‘Underwriter Requested Documents.’

Decision Appeal

Click here if you would like to appeal the decision of your HAF-RI application.
All appeals must be received within 30 calendar days of the decision.

Recertification Form

Applicants who receive assistance via the HAF-RI program will be required to recertify on a quarterly basis that their employment and/or financial status as not changed. The recertification must be completed every 3 (three) months until assistance has ended. 

If you are required to recertify your continued need for assistance, please click here to download the Recertification Form. Sign and date this form to recertify HAF-RI eligibility.