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Habitat Homeowners and the COVID-19 Crisis

Laura Duque
Posted by Laura Duque on 12:47 PM on May 8, 2020

Melo and familyThroughout this COVID-19 crisis, our top priority has always been the health and safety of our entire Twin Cities Habitat community. This includes Habitat homeowners, many of whom are the heroes working the front lines to keep our families safe during this time.

Unfortunately, many Habitat homeowners are currently facing health and financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. A lot of them have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced. Others are working less in order to care for their children.

In the past couple of months, more than 100 Habitat homeowners have reached out to us to let us know they’re worried about making their Habitat mortgage payments on time.

Habitat staff is doing everything possible to make sure families can stay in their homes—and it's fueled by generous donors supporting our At Home Fund

During this time, our Mortgage Portfolio and our Foreclosure Prevention managers have been contacting Habitat homeowners to let them know of their existing options and new tools available to those impacted by COVID-19.

Available Resources

Maintenance Fund

One of the more unique aspects of the Habitat mortgage is the Homeowner Maintenance Fund. All Habitat homeowners contribute to a maintenance fund with their monthly mortgage payments. Normally this money is used for home maintenance and repairs. However, during this time, homeowners can use this fund towards their mortgage to ease the burden while their income is reduced.

Forbearance Agreement

Another option we offer is a forbearance agreement. This is an agreement that allows homeowners to make smaller or no payments for a certain period of time.

Repayment Plan or Loan Modification

Once homeowners are able to return to their jobs, we’ll work with them to create a repayment plan or loan modification. With a repayment plan, the amount past due is generally spread across monthly payments. When a loan modification is requested, we re-incorporate what is past due into the mortgage.

New tools for those impacted by COVID-19

Payment Deferral

Because of the severity of this crisis, we've added a new option—payment deferral. This allows us to put mortgages into a brief deferment. Homeowners can extend their payment due date and maturity date on their mortgage if they are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. This also means no late fees and no reports to credit agencies.

Additional Flexibility

Guided by the state and federal governments, we have also suspended all foreclosure actions and credit reporting during this time. Additionally, we’ve extended the terms on forbearance agreements and repayment plans and have removed some of the limitations for accessing a loan modification.

Our Homeowner Engagement Coordinator has also been connecting homeowners to other relief programs and resources available for those in need of assistance with things like childcare and food during this time.

We are here for Habitat homeowners

We believe no one should lose their home because of COVID-19. That’s why we are committed to helping homeowners during this difficult time.

If you are a Habitat homeowner who is experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and have concerns about paying your mortgage, please visit our Habitat Homeowners Resource Webpage.

You can also find our full list of resources on our COVID-19 Response Webpage.

Tags: Habitat News, 2020

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