Homeowners nationwide are at risk of losing homes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In Mississippi, more than 3,500 people could lose their homes soon. Those who are behind on mortgages can still take advantage of the CARES act forbearance program. The program will expire at the end of June. The Mississippi Free Press reports 3,508 residents are behind on mortgages. Nationwide, more than 325,000 homeowners are in similar positions.
“COVID forbearance is a very straightforward, very simple process. It gives consumers six more months, and then ultimately up to a year to return to normalcy,” says David Berenbaum. He currently serves as HUD Office of Housing Counseling Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Magnolia State. However, he goes on to say there is a specific group of the population at risk of losing everything.
“Individuals who earn less than $50,000, low-to-moderate-income consumers, who are African American or Latino make up a large part of the cohort that we’re looking at here. That’s why it’s important that we connect Mississippians to their servicers or local counseling groups within the states,” says Berenbaum.
Furthermore, HUD counseling agencies can do more than just help with mortgage forbearance. Approved agencies can also change mortgage terms and interest rates. In addition, these agencies act as a barrier between homeowners, the government, and mortgage providers. Finally, HUD officials advise homeowners to be weary of scams. “A HUD-approved housing counselor will not charge you,” says Gloria Shanahan, a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Help for homeowners at risk?
Additionally, there is help for those outside of the state of Mississippi as well. Any owner with a Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage should immediately call a HUD-approved counseling agency. You can find a complete list of those resources here. Again, this application process must be started before the end of June.
Finally, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners is also working to help those at risk of losing housing because of the Covid-19 pandemic. You can learn more about rental assistance options as well as get help paying rent by clicking here.