VAIL, Ariz. (KGUN) — Six years ago Darlene Burton bought her dream home, but when COVID hit things quickly changed.
"My son and I both worked at Acacia Elementary. Being my age and having asthma, when COVID happened I couldn't work anymore. We lost all that income," said Burton.
It wasn't long before Burton fell behind on her mortgage payments.
"It was a very stressful time. I was fortunate that my mortgage company assisted us with not having to make payments for a while, but that came to an end. Then I found out about the Homeowner Assistance Fund," said Burton.
The Arizona Homeowner Assistance Fund is offered through the Arizona Department of Housing. In January 2022, $197 million federal dollars was set aside to help homeowners like Burton. The goal is to help those impacted by COVID and at risk of losing their homes.
"We had $197 million allocated to Arizona for this program, but right now, we have more than $180 million available to go to families in need," said Arizona Department of Housing Director, Tom Simplot.
The fund has helped a few thousand qualifying homeowners, but the housing department knows there are many more in need.
"It can be used for utilities, HOA fees, internet. There are so many different uses for these funds," said Simplot.
It allowed Burton to get back on her feet: a gift she will forever be grateful for.
"It just took all that burden away. I know a lot of families are having hard times now. I really want a lot of people to know about it because it helped our family. It saved us from having to lose our house," said Burton.
Megan Meier is a reporter for KGUN 9. Megan graduated from Arizona State Universityʼs Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications in May 2018. While pursuing her degree in broadcast journalism, Megan interned at the City of Phoenix. Share your story ideas and important issues with Megan by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.