The COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t mean that families who are struggling financially need to fear losing their homes.
As we advocate for a moratorium on foreclosures and other policies to help bring relief to low- and moderate-income homeowners, there are resources available both online and over the phone to help families to protect themselves. Here’s a list.
Get free foreclosure prevention help statewide
Housing counseling and legal services are available through the Homeowner Protection Program, a network of 87 community-based organizations throughout the state vetted by the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Best of all, there’s no cost to homeowners who qualify as low- or moderate-income. Contact us online or by calling 1-855-HOME-456 or 646-786-0888 to get referred to a counselor or attorney.
From mortgage modifications to navigating the foreclosure process, the professionals with the HOPP network offer personalized plans and assistance, even with the most complex cases. Due to the outbreak, most organizations are now offering phone counseling.
Get mortgage payment relief
If you cannot make mortgage payments because of the COVID-19 outbreak, contact your mortgage servicer to request that your payment be put into forbearance. Forbearance does not forgive your debt, but your servicer may agree to extend your loan terms in order to avoid late payments and fees that may negatively impact your credit score.
If you’re not sure what kind of loan you have, visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov to find out.
Learn about foreclosure proceedings
Foreclosures are suspended for 60 days for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration or backed by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and/or SONYMA. New York State has instructed all mortgage lenders/services to suspend all foreclosure proceedings for 90 days.
However, if you are currently in foreclosure proceedings it is our recommendation that you consult a lawyer, which the Center can connect you to, to ensure that your servicer does not continue with your court proceedings despite the guidance from New York State.
Watch out for scams
Go to HomeownerHelpNY.com, run by the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, to learn how to protect yourself from fraud. Scams can come in many flavors, and we often see a spike during crises. Don’t get scammed! Keep yourself, your finances, and your family safe. If you suspect you may be a victim of a scam, dial 1-855-HOME-456 or fill out this form.
Evictions suspended in New York State
All eviction proceedings have been suspended until June 20, 2020. This does not mean that rent payments are stopped. The Center has been monitoring possible state and federal rental relief programs. The Center has heard reports of new eviction proceedings still being filed, but people are not defaulting for not appearing. Essential applications (lockouts, repair orders) are still allowed.
Contact your utility companies
If you’ve fallen behind on your gas and electric bills because of lost income from the coronavirus, reach out to your utility providers to see what help is available. Shutoffs have been suspended for customers affected by COVID19.
Check in on court dates
Some courts have already begun rescheduling postponed foreclosure auctions and court appearances. Homeowners with scheduled court dates and auctions should check with the court to see if their date has been postponed or rescheduled. Call the NYS Courts Coronavirus Hotline at 833-503-0447 for more information.
Take control of your finances
Since you may be stuck at home for a while, take a look at our Financial Health Toolkit to see if you need to reset your home budget in this time of crisis and learn how to cut costs. Some banks may also provide online resources.
Learn how to manage your mortgage
Take care of yourself
It’s a stressful time, and it’s important to take care of yourself. There is free, professional help available. Contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 for 24/7, 365-days-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.