By Hope Del Carlo

Homeowners who’ve experienced a financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for help from the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative (OHSI). OHSI distributed the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit funds that were allocated to Oregon homeowners in the wake of the Great Recession. Those programs have ended, however the new COVID-19 Mortgage Support program is open.

Borrowers who qualify receive forgivable assistance, as long as they don’t sell the home or refinance for cash for at least five years.

In order to be eligible to receive COVID-19 Mortgage Relief, the applicant must:

  • Have experienced a financial hardship due to unemployment, reduced hours, decline in self-employment earnings, divorce, death, medical costs or disability.
  • Own and occupy a 1- to 4-unit home in Oregon as your principal residence.
  • Be a borrower who is obligated on a mortgage of not more than $491,050, secured by    your principal residence (some exceptions apply).
  • Be less than $40,000 behind on mortgage payments.
  • Have been current on the mortgage until January 1, 2020.
  • Have a current monthly housing expense to income ratio of not more than 45%.
  • Not be in an active bankruptcy.
  • Meet OHSI’s annual income limitations (generally, not more than 160% of the state median income).
  • Not have been convicted of certain finance-related crimes within the last ten years.

For more information on the program and how to apply, visit oregonhomeownerhelp.org.