Government assistance continues to be available for those struggling to pay rent or make mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Tennessee, about 6,700 households are 90 days or more behind with mortgage payments, putting them at risk of foreclosure, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In Hamilton County there are 447, according to a mayor’s office spokesman.
To help those suffering from the financial repercussions of COVID-19, HUD is extending its deferral program on mortgages insured through the Federal Housing Administration until the end of July.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced in June that a moratorium on foreclosure on mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be extended to July 31, 2021.
HUD, Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will continue to allow homeowners who have not previously used the forbearance to take a COVID-related moratorium until September 30, 2021, while homeowners on Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-backed mortgages receive the COVID-related hardships continue to be entitled to COVID-related omission.
Finally, in July, the HUD, VA, and USDA will announce further moves to offer borrowers options to cut payments that will allow more homeowners to stay in their homes.
“Homeowners with an FHA-insured mortgage at risk of losing their home due to the pandemic should contact their mortgage provider as soon as possible to take advantage of the FHA forbearance program,” said HUD spokesman Joe Phillips in the Times Free Press last week.
Phillips said the FHA’s COVID-19 mortgage payment freeze is reducing or suspending monthly mortgage payments for an initial period of up to six months, and there may be an option for an extension.
The program doesn’t waive payments, but leaves homeowners extra time to make payments.
To inquire about the program, affected homeowners should contact their mortgage provider directly for assistance, and can also contact an HUD-approved housing counseling center for free advice.
To find a HUD-approved agency, homeowners can call 800-569-4287 or use the online search at hud.gov/housingcounseling.
The deadline for applying for COVID forbearance is July 31st
Apartment rentals affected by the pandemic can apply for housing assistance through the city and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.
The city of Chattanooga continues to provide assistance to those affected by COVID-19 across Hamilton County, according to Rachel Howard, director of the Office of Family Empowerment.
Howard said Monday the city is in a position to temporarily provide assistance to those who reach 200% of the local poverty line and can demonstrate they have been financially affected by the pandemic.
Qualified residents can receive rental subsidies for up to 12 months through the coronavirus aid funding provided by the federal government.
Howard said there is no set deadline for applying for CARES Act funding, which the city can use until September 2022.
The Office of Family Empowerment does not currently offer personal services, but can be reached at 423-643-6434.
To apply for state aid for COVID-19, residents can call the Tennessee Housing Development Agency at 844-500-1112.
The call center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
People can also visit the department online at thda.org.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at [email protected].