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Coalition Urges Congress to Boost Mortgage-Payment Assistance

A coalition of more than 350 groups — including 64 national housing and civil rights organizations — sent congressional leaders a letter pressing for additional relief of $25 billion for homeowners in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

“Mortgage payments assistance will be critically important to the nearly 3 million borrowers that remain in long-term forbearance plans from their mortgage servicers,” explains the letter, signed by national housing organizations including the American Bankers Association and Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), National Association of Realtors (NAR), as well as the NAACP and National Urban League.

The letter calls for aid to homeowners facing hardships stemming from the pandemic who disproportionately represent communities of color, with state housing finance agencies deploying the bulk of the funds through the Homeowners Association Fund.

On top of that, the letter calls for at least $100 million for housing counseling and $39.7 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program. The coalition says HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and legal assistance collectively help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

It writes: "HUD-approved housing counseling agencies play a critical role in ensuring homeowners get the individualized help and relief they need to stay in their homes, including through effective
communication with their servicer and addressing credit and financial challenges as a result of
the pandemic.

What’s more, the Homeowner Assistance Fund, modeled after the Obama-era Hardest Hit Fund, recently was reintroduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jack Reed (D-RI).

According to the letter, the fund “would enable state housing finance agencies to help homeowners with COVID-19 hardships, including providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, helping people get into affordable loan modifications, and assisting with utility payments, property tax and insurance payments, homeowner association dues and other support to prevent the loss of home equity, mortgage delinquency, default, foreclosure, or loss of utility services.”

Read the "letter to the Hill" in full at NHC.org.




About Author: Chuck Green

Chuck Green has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and others covering various industries, including real estate, business and banking, technology, and sports.

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