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Save the Dream Ohio, By: M. Katherine Bushey, Esq.

Recently, Save the Dream Ohio administered by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) and funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Homeowner Assistance Fund, announced it is accepting applications to help Ohio homeowners who are facing economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) was created by the American Rescue Plan Act to help homeowners struggling to make housing payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition​ to mortgage payments, the HAF offers community association homeowners assistance with paying “homeowner’s association, condominium association fees, or common charges,” which qualify as housing expenses that may be paid from the fund.

The state of Ohio was awarded $280 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for the program. This marks the first time the federal government has elevated payment of community association assessment delinquencies to the same level as mortgage delinquencies in emergency housing legislation.

Save the Dream Ohio is a multi-agency foreclosure prevention outreach initiative program involving partners from state government, nonprofit housing counseling agencies, and legal aid organizations. The Save the Dream Ohio program has two components: Mortgage Assistance and Utility Assistance Plus. Homeowners that need assistance paying utility bills, non-escrowed property taxes, and community association assessments may be eligible for assistance through the Utility Assistance Plus component of the program, which is administered by local Community Action Agencies. A household may receive up to $10,000 in utility and/or housing cost assistance.

To be eligible for the Save the Dream Ohio program, a household must:

  • Be a homeowner with primary residence in Ohio;
  • Have experienced a financial hardship, loss of income, or increase in expenses related to the pandemic after January 21, 2020; and
  • Meet the program’s annual income eligibility threshold, which is $147,600 for a family of four (a complete income chart can be found on the program website).

To learn more about the program visit savethedream.ohiohome.org or call 888-404-4674. The Save the Dream Ohio program is expected to continue through September 30, 2025 or until the available funding is depleted.