As more and more people are isolated to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Miami and San Jose, California have temporarily stopped all evictions, while other cities, including San Francisco and New York, are considering doing the same. Activists are pushing for a national hold on evictions and foreclosures, in an effort to safeguard public health.
“It's never been more clear that housing is health care,” said Diane Yentel, the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The ability for people to self-isolate, self-quarantine in their homes is essential to all of our health, and so I think there's a really important business reason and public health reason and certainly moral reason why big banks and regulators should take this step.”
According to Jesse Van Tol, the CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a blanket national halt to evictions and foreclosures would help policymakers get ahead of any uptick in delinquencies and defaults, preventing the government form “reacting to it and playing catch-up,” he told American Banker.
Though regulators including the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) have not indicated a hold on foreclosures and evictions yet, Director Mark Calabria has said that the FHFA, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will be meeting the needs of home borrowers.
“To meet the needs of borrowers who may be impacted by the coronavirus, last week Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reminded mortgage servicers that hardship forbearance is an option for borrowers who are unable to make their monthly mortgage payment,” Calabria said. “For borrowers that may be experiencing a hardship, I encourage you to reach out to your servicer. The Enterprises and the Federal Home Loan Banks continue to provide support to the secondary mortgage market, and the UMBS market continues to operate at its normal level.”