Tough choices are made when times are lean. Luxuries can be cut but the roof has to stay overhead. A new program offers Virgin Islanders $25,000 to make those decisions a little easier.
Eligible residents can receive up to $25,000 to cover outstanding expenses like delinquent mortgage loans, property taxes, and outstanding homeowner association and condominium fees. The V.I. Housing Finance Authority’s Homeowner Assistance Program, launched this month, has a total of $8.5 million ready to allocate to USVI homeowners. Approximately 60 percent of the money is for homeowners with incomes at or below 100 percent of the area median income — $90,000 for households of one to three people.
Other rules apply as well. Properties must be located in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the applicant must currently own and occupy the property as their primary residence, and the household income cannot exceed 150 percent of their area’s median income. That amount, based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s income data, is also $90,000 for up to two people in a household in St. Thomas and St. Croix, but set at $104.100 in St. John. The calculations get more complicated as the number of people in the household increases.
The rules also stipulate eligible homeowners must describe a Covid-19-related financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020, such as job loss, a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs for health care or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly.
Eligible property types include single-family properties, condominium units and one-to-four-unit properties where one of the units is the applicants’ primary home. The eligible mortgage types that can qualify for assistance include first mortgages, second mortgages and in all cases, the principal mortgage must be less than or equal to $400,000.