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Wisconsin’s Help for Homeowners, Homeownership Assistance Fund Program

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

*March 7, 2022 update: Gov. Tony Evers has launched Wisconsin Help for Homeowners Program.

I wish to remind Wisconsin’s bankers of the availability of the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners (WHH) Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) Program as another tool to assist homeowners struggling with a financial hardship as of January 21, 2020, due to the coronavirus. Program funding is available from the Treasury through the Homeowners Assistance Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The State of Wisconsin, through its WHH partners, will accept and process applications from homeowners within the state of Wisconsin. Homeowner income eligibility requirements are limited to households whose incomes do not exceed 100% of the area median income or 150% of the area median income if the homeowner meets the definition of Socially Disadvantaged under 24 CFR 124.103. Eligible expenses are those that were due on or after January 21, 2020, as described in the Wisconsin Homeowner Assistance Fund and Need Assessment Plan. The plan has recently been approved by the Treasury. The state has implemented the WHH HAF, and applicants can now apply. Funds are limited to $40,000 per applicant.

The State of Wisconsin, through its WHH partners, will be using the Common Data file (CDF) to share borrower information with loan servicers. If unable to utilize the CDF another mutually agreeable format will be used. A borrower general release and information sharing agreement is also required to be executed. All payments to servicers on behalf of borrowers will be disbursed using ACH.

If a bank is its own servicer, the bank could execute a collaboration agreement, and other required documents under the WHH HAF program, and work directly with WHH partners to process WHH HAF program payments on behalf of their borrowers. If a third-party is the servicer, the bank should alert its third-party servicers of Wisconsin’s program so that the servicer can execute the required documents in preparation for assisting affected borrowers.

To participate, several documents need be executed by servicer or borrower, including: a Collaboration Agreement, WHH Contact Information Form, WHH Borrower Consent Form, DOA-6460 New Supplier Form, DOA-6456 Authorization for Electronic Deposit Form, and a W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Certification.

Upon receipt of the above documents, the Collaboration Agreement will be signed electronically by the state’s identified contact and a fully executed copy of the agreement shall be sent to the servicer. Program documents, in addition to those linked above, need be obtained from Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Tamra Fabian at tamra.fabian@wisconsin.gov. Fabian is leading the intake of the Collaboration Agreements.

More details regarding Wisconsin’s Homeowner Assistance Fund Program, may be found at: homeownerhelp.wi.gov.