WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial hardship and uncertainty for many homeowners and renters. The fear of losing the place you call home is very real for far too many families during these uncertain times.
It’s why a government-sponsored corporation is working to provide options to help people who are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent.
It’s a staggering statistic. A recent U.S. Census survey shows 4.3 million Americans either missed last month’s rent or mortgage payment, or fear they won’t be able to pay next month’s on time.
“So, we’re really facing an unprecedented time and people need additional information on how they can get help,” said Danielle McCoy, Vice President of Fannie Mae.
Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is offering information to families who are torn between putting food on the table or making their mortgage or rent payments. For homeowners, McCoy recommends seeking a forbearance if your home is owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or a government-backed mortgage.
“And a forbearance is a temporary suspension in your monthly payment or a reduction in your monthly payment amount. It really acts as a bridge until your financial hardship is over.”
For renters, McCoy says keep the lines of communication open with your landlord. Explain your financial hardship and see if you can work out a payment plan. But that’s not the only option if Fannie Mae finances the apartment building where you live.
“If we do finance your apartment building, the first thing you’ll be eligible for the Disaster Response Network and this network can provide you free counseling from HUD-approved financial counselors to create a plan for you to get out of your financial situation.”
McCoy says if your landlord is taking forbearance from Fannie Mae, you cannot be evicted for not paying the rent.
Fannie Mae has developed a website called “Here to Help”. It features videos, fact sheets and a variety of other tools and resources that covers everything from who is eligible for relief to what happens after a homeowner’s temporary mortgage suspension.