With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing its onslaught and putting millions of Americans in the disconcerting position of facing continued hardship, President Biden announced on Tuesday that his administration is taking additional steps to help keep individuals and families in their homes, safely away from the risk of eviction and foreclosure.
Those protections were set to expire in March. Now, they will last through June. They include the following actions:
Extending the foreclosure moratorium for homeowners through June 30, 2021;
Extending the mortgage payment forbearance* enrollment window until June 30, 2021 for borrowers who wish to request forbearance; and
Providing up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance -- in three-month increments -- for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30, 2020.
*In layman’s terms, forbearance is “a temporary postponement of mortgage payments. It is a form of repayment relief granted by the lender or creditor in lieu of forcing a property into foreclosure.”
All for one, one for all
On top of helping out the general landscape of homeowners, the White House said that it’s putting extra emphasis on the following areas where the health and economic costs of the pandemic have been unevenly felt:
Across-the-board government agency help
Included in Biden’s revived plan is across-the-board relief for urban, suburban, rural, and military homeowners, including seniors with reverse mortgages.
To help make that happen, every single government agency that deals with mortgages and evictions including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Agriculture is working arm-in-arm to make sure that the extensions reach the greatest number of affected Americans.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) -- the independent agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- is already in front of the change. Just last week, it extended forbearance by three months for borrowers coming to the end of their forbearance period.
Communities of color
Government officials said they are also focusing housing relief intent on strengthening communities of color so that they can build the foundation for an “equitable recovery.”
“Extending forbearance policies will provide critical support to homeowners of color, who make up a disproportionate share of borrowers with delinquent loans and loans in forbearance due to COVID-related hardship,” the White House said in its announcement.
For more information
If Biden’s team has learned anything about disseminating information, it’s the importance of providing a centralized resource. Homeowners and renters can visit consumerfinance.gov/housing for up-to-date information on what relief options are available, as well as the available protections and key deadlines.
Where needed, the Consumer Finance and Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it can even help mortgage-holders find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency so they can learn more about paying their mortgage, managing a reverse mortgage, or paying rent.
Additionally, ConsumerAffairs found the additional assistance offered by the FHFA impressive. If you are a homeowner who has a loan owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and your ability to pay your mortgage is impacted, it is worth checking out the FHFA’s website regarding mortgage issues brought on by COVID-19.