Tester Secures $50 Million in Pandemic Homeowner Support to Prevent Foreclosures in Montana

Funds will be used to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured $50 million in Housing Assistance Fund (HAF) investments through the American Rescue Plan to provide relief to Montana homeowners experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. The first 10 percent of the funds—$500,000—will be released this week.

Tester was the only member of the Montana delegation to vote for the American Rescue Plan COVID relief package that contained this funding.

“Homeownership gives Montana families a foothold in the middle class—it’s how folks build equity, invest for the future, and help pay for retirement and their kids’ education,” said Tester. “But Montana homeowners have taken it on the chin in this pandemic, and everywhere I go, I hear from hardworking families who are worried about being able to make their next mortgage and utility payments. I’m proud to have secured these American Rescue Plan investments that will help keep folks in their homes and protect their economic security, because we can’t afford to let this public health crisis turn into a foreclosure crisis.”

Tester successfully fought to include his legislation creating the HAF in the American Rescue Plan signed into law last month. The HAF will provide up to $9.9 billion for states, Tribes, and U.S. territories to provide relief to vulnerable homeowners, and priority will be given to homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships. This funding will go toward preventing mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship. Funds from the HAF may be used for assistance with mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments, and other specified purposes.

Tester has been fighting alongside Montanans to protect homeowners and combat the affordable housing crisis across the state. Last month, he announced more than $15 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding made available by the American Rescue Plan to support affordable housing construction, purchasing, or rehabilitation for low- and very-low income families. He also secured a commitment from HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge that she would work to break down silos preventing affordable housing for Montana workers and Tribes from being built and maintained. He held a Housing Summit to gather ideas and suggestions from stakeholders and constituents on how to address the growing housing crisis.