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Affordable Homeownership Foundation and COVID-19

I hope everyone is staying safe during this difficult and very unnerving time. As we continue to figure out our futures we are still here for counseling that we can do virtually either through SKYPE or other platforms.

What this disaster means for your Mortgage Loan:

Guide to coronavirus mortgage relief options

MAR 31, 2020

If you’re among those financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, you might be concerned about how to pay your mortgage or rent. Federal and state governments have announced plans to help struggling homeowners during this time. Read this to get information on what to do now, and what your options are for mortgage and rental relief.

Important things to know first

For many homeowners with mortgages, there’s help, but first assess your situation.

If you can pay your mortgage, pay your mortgage.

Don’t call your mortgage servicer if you aren’t facing an immediate issue. Mortgage servicers are getting a lot of calls and need to first help those who won’t be able to pay their mortgage. Check their website first for possible options.

If you can’t pay your mortgage, or can only pay a portion, contact your mortgage servicer immediately.

You may need to stay on the phone for a while before the servicer is able to take your call. Loan servicers are also impacted by the pandemic, so may be working with staffing and technology limitations. Please be sure to read this blog carefully so you are prepared for this conversation.

A new federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:

  1. A foreclosure moratorium
  2. A right to forbearance for homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency

If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage servicer or from your state.

Keep reading as we’ll first explain what the different options mean. Then we’ll explain how you can figure out if your lender or servicer can offer you any of the forms of assistance available.

This blog includes information to help you understand:

Major mortgage relief options during the coronavirus pandemic

Mortgage forbearance

Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time. Forbearance doesn’t erase what you owe – you’ll have to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future. If your income is restored, reach out to your servicer and resume making payments as soon as you can.

Depending on the kind of loan you have, there may be different forbearance options. If this option is available to you, read our guide to help you make the best decision based on your situation.

Moratoriums suspend or stop foreclosure

Foreclosure is when the lender takes back the property after the homeowner fails to make required payments on a mortgage. Foreclosure processes differ by state.

Keep reading for specific information on forbearance and moratoriums under the CARES Act.

What options do you qualify for?

Your mortgage relief options depend on who owns or backs your mortgage. Here we’ll explain how to find out what you qualify for.

First, figure out who services your mortgage. This is who you need to contact.

HOW TO REQUEST FORBEARANCE OR OTHER MORTGAGE RELIEF

Call your servicer.

You may need to stay on the phone for a while before the servicer is able to take your call.

Loan servicers are experiencing a high call volume and are also impacted by the pandemic, so may be working with staffing and technology limitations.

Have your account number handy.

Click here for questions to ask and information to have ready for your call.

Your mortgage servicer is the company that you send your mortgage payments to each month.

If you don’t know or can’t remember who currently services your mortgage, there are several ways to find out, including looking at your mortgage statement for contact information.

Click here to find out who owns or services your mortgage.

Second, figure out if your mortgage is federally backed.

To be eligible for protections under the CARES Act your mortgage must be federally owned or otherwise backed by one of the federal agencies and entities listed below. If you don’t know who owns or backs your mortgage, you can call your servicer. The servicer has an obligation to provide you, to the best of its knowledge, the name, address, and telephone number of who owns your loan.

List of federal agencies and entities

Nearly half of the nation’s mortgages are owned or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

To look up online whether your mortgage is owned or backed by Fannie or Freddie, click these links:

CARES Act Relief Options

If your mortgage is a federally backed mortgage, you have two mortgage relief options under the CARES Act:

  • First, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale, during this period of time.
  • Second, if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request one extension for another up to 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.

If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac

In addition to the foreclosure moratorium and forbearance, if you are granted forbearance to delay making your monthly payments during this temporary period:

  • You won’t incur late fees
  • You won’t have delinquencies reported to credit reporting companies
  • Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended

Borrowers with a mortgage not backed by the federal government

If you have a mortgage loan that is not backed by one of the federal agencies or entities listed above, contact your servicer. The CFPB and other financial regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with borrowers who are or may be unable to meet their obligations because of the effects of COVID-19.

Your servicer should help you identify alternatives that may be available to you given your specific circumstances.

Your state may also offer additional mortgage relief options

Many states are implementing or considering various mortgage relief options, including the suspension of foreclosures, as well as additional assistance for homeowners. Check your state’s government website for details.

How to request forbearance or mortgage relief

Call your servicer

You may have to wait on the line for a while to speak to your mortgage servicer because there are a lot of people in need right now. Be prepared with the following information and questions you want to ask, and check their website before you call to see if there is a list provided of information you may need. Have your account number handy.

You may need to explain

  • Why you’re unable to make your payment
  • Whether the problem is temporary or permanent
  • Details about your income, expenses and other assets, like cash in the bank
  • Whether you’re a servicemember with permanent change of station (PCS) orders

Questions to ask

  • What options are available to help you temporarily reduce or suspend my payments?
  • Are there forbearance, loan modification, or other options?
  • Can you waive late fees?

Get it in writing

Once you’re able to secure forbearance or another mortgage relief option, ask your servicer to provide written documentation that confirms the details of your agreement and that you’re clear on what the terms are. With some forbearance programs, you may owe all of your missed payments at one time, or additional payments at the end of the mortgage might be required, so make sure you’re familiar with the final terms.

What to do once you’ve received a mortgage relief option

While you’re in the forbearance period, or working under another mortgage relief option, there are a number of things to do to continue to protect yourself. This advice applies to both a CARES Act forbearance and other mortgage relief that you might receive.

  • Keep written documentation on hand. You want to make sure that you have this documentation available in case there are any errors on your monthly mortgage statements to ensure that your statement reflects the assistance provided.
  • Pay attention to your monthly mortgage statement. Continue monitoring your monthly mortgage statements to make sure you don’t see any errors.
  • Keep an eye on your credit. It’s a good idea to routinely check your credit reports in order to make sure there are no errors or inaccuracies. If you stop making mortgage payments without a forbearance agreement, the servicer will report this information to the credit reporting companies, and it can have a lasting negative impact on your credit history. If an error has been made, however, you can work to dispute it. Get more information about credit reporting and coronavirus.
  • Once your income is restored, contact your servicer and resume your payments. With forbearance, you still owe the payments that you missed, but fewer missed payments mean you’ll owe less down the road.
  • If you’re continuing to receive some income that turns out to be more than you need for your bills and expenses (including anything you keep paying on your mortgage), consider putting the extra money away so you can use it to pay off what’s needed later. If you can save any money now, it’ll be helpful when payments are due later.

Be aware of scams

Scammers often take advantage of vulnerable consumers during disasters and financial shocks. In addition to coronavirus-related scams, be aware of scams that falsely promise financial relief from your mortgage loan, or from foreclosure.

Here’s what to watch for as scammers may:

  • Charge a high up-front fee for their services
  • Promise to get you a loan modification
  • Ask you to sign over your property title
  • Ask you to sign papers you don’t understand
  • Tell you to make payments to someone other than your servicer
  • Tell you to stop making payments altogether
  • Promise you payments in connection with providing credit card numbers and other personal information

Learn what steps you can take if you believe you’ve been a victim of a foreclosure scam

Protections for renters

If you are renting from an owner who has a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions. If your landlord has a federally backed mortgage or multi-family mortgage, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020, the effective date of the CARES Act. After the 120-day period is up, the landlord cannot require you, the tenant, to vacate until providing you with a thirty-day notice to vacate.

If the property you rent isn’t covered by the CARES Act, many states have suspended all evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic. Check the websites of your state government, state court , or legal aid program for details and updates.

Where to get additional help

If you need help working with your servicer or understanding your options you may want to reach out to a professional to help you with your specific situation.

Find more information regarding COVID-19 from CFPB

We’re working to continuously update information for consumers during this rapidly evolving situation.

We will publish all COVID-19-related information and blogs to our resource page. Information should be considered accurate as of the blog publish date.

See our COVID-19 resource page

Topics:

Join the conversation. Follow CFPB on Twitter  and Facebook  .

Best regards,

Lois Healy- CEO

Affordable Homeownership Foundation Inc

5264 Clayton Court, Suite 1

Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.ahf.today

239-689-4944

Great Minds discuss ideas;

average minds discuss events;

small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt

GuideStar Member

Affordable Homeownership Foundation Inc. Is a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency HUD # 81174

Affordable Homeownership Foundation is a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency serving very low, low and moderate income clients with a emphasis on Veterans, Seniors, Disabled, and Youth that have aged out of the Foster Care System. We offer First Time Home Buyer Classes, Foreclosure Prevention, Rental & Homeless Prevention Counseling, Financial Capabilities Counseling/Coaching Please call us for more information 239-689-4944

Affordable Homeownership Foundation Presents 2020 First Time Homebuyer Classes

New homeowner receives key from agent in front of a sold sign.
14500

The following is a list of the dates for our First Time Home Buyer Classes:

Month Date Time
February 2/8/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
March 3/14/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
April 04/11/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
May 5/9/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
June 6/13/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
July 7/11/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
August 8/8/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
September 9/12/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
October 10/10/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
November 11/14/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
December 12/12/2020 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

We work through Lunch, however lunch is provided as well as water, coffee and soft drinks. Please be on time! You must register by calling 239-689-4944

Application for Program Services (Credit, Budget & Financial Capabilities Counseling, First Time Home Buyer).

Listed Below are the items you MUST bring to the First Time Home Buyer Class, Credit, Budget & Financial Capabilities CounselingThis is not our requirement it is a requirement of HUD.

The following is a list of documents to bring to the class or for counseling:

  • Copies of your most recent utility bills
  • 2 most recent pay stubs (for each person in the household)
  • If disabled or on social security, Proof of SSI/SSDI, pensions, child support, alimony etc. for each person in the household
  • If self-employed, a signed and dated year to date profit and loss statement
  • Last 3 months of bank statements, all pages all accounts in PDF format, (account snapshots from the internet will not be accepted)
  • Last 2 years tax returns (signed on the signature page)

Please do not bring original documents, as we will have to make copies and that takes time.

In addition, we have to pull credit as a HUD requirement unless you bring a tri-merge RECENT credit report. The credit report we pull is a “Soft Pull” and does not affect your credit score in any way. CREDCO charges us $18.00 per person and $36.00 joint couple, so that would be the charge to you.  We take cash or charge.  You will receive a copy of the credit report to take with you when you leave.

Thank you.  We look forward to working with you.

AHF Staff

AHF is Issuing a RFP for REHAB of a Home For a Low Income Family in Fort Myers

AHF gets calls on a daily basis for affordable housing for low income families. We realize that the average low income family is paying more than they can afford for rents in Lee County so we are rehabbing a home we just purchased at 2119 Sunrise Blvd., Fort Myers, FL which will become a rental for a low income family struggling to survive. This is only a two bedroom home but it will be beautiful and energy efficient once it is finished. So we are looking for bids for our RFP. The pre-bid meeting will be held at the house February 11th at 9:30 AM. If you are a contractor wanting to bid please e-mail Lois at lois@ahf.today or show up at the pre-bid meeting see the attachments above for more details. Hope to see you there!

What You Can Do to Protect Your Home From Weather-Related Damage

According to the Congressional Budget Office, expected annual economic losses from weather-related damage caused by hurricane winds and storm-related flooding total $54 billion, with $34 billion of those losses to households. If you are like most people, your home is probably one of your biggest investments; therefore, you should do whatever you can to protect it. When it comes to weather damage, you need homeowners insurance. However, you should also take other steps to lower the risk of major destruction and costly, inconvenient repairs.

How to Reduce the Risk of Wind Damage

Hurricanes and other severe storms can wreak havoc on your home in the form of wind damage. Wind can damage shingles, siding, and doors, so make sure shingles and siding are fastened properly and install storm shutters on doors and windows if your area is prone to violent storms. During storms, tree branches and limbs can crash onto your home or vehicle. Regularly trimming the trees that are near your home can help reduce the risk of fallen limb damage. Depending on the size of the tree, the average cost of tree trimming can range from just $75 up to $1,000. If you have dead or dying trees on your property, have them removed promptly so they do not become projectiles during a storm.

Check your homeowners insurance policy to ensure you understand the coverage. Some policies have separate deductibles for hurricane or wind damage, while others exclude this type of damage from standard coverage and require you to purchase a separate windstorm policy.          

How to Protect Your Home from Hail

The best defense against hail damage is investing in an impact-resistant roof. Shingles made from modified asphalt are generally affordable and offer some resistance with their rubber-like qualities. Plastic or resin shingles, as well as other types of metal shingles, may be more durable but at a higher price tag. Talk to roofing contractors in your area to learn about upgraded materials that can protect against hail damage and extend the lifespan of your roof.

Hailstones can damage more than just your roof. If you live in an area prone to hail, consider the previously mentioned storm shutters to protect your windows from cracking or shattering. Also, be sure to bring in patio furniture, BBQ grills, and other outdoor items before any storm.

How to Stop Rain and Snowmelt from Leaking Into Your Home

Severe rains, flash floods, and melted snow can leak into your home and cause serious issues. You can avoid this problem by having your roof inspected for missing shingles and damaged flashing before storm season. Also, clean out your gutters regularly. If they get clogged, water can overflow and damage the exterior of your home or leak into your basement.

To protect your foundation, you want to ensure the ground around your house slopes downward away from your home rather than toward it. If water runs toward the edge of your house, it can leak into your foundation. Therefore, you may need to add soil into any low spots to deter water from pooling around the perimeter of your home.

How Sunlight Can Damage Your House

Believe it or not, the sun can damage your house too. Strong sunlight can cause vinyl siding to melt or crack over time, so consider planting trees around your home to protect siding from sun damage. The sun can also deteriorate the shingles of your roof if you don’t have a cool roof coating with a high reflectivity rating. These coatings can also help prevent water damage as well. Sunlight coming through your windows can also discolor certain types of hardwood floors quickly, including cherry wood. However, window coverings can prevent this type of damage.

You can’t control the weather or avoid any kind of weather-related damage to your home. However, you can take several preventive measures that will help reduce the chances of costly repairs. Protecting your home today from wind, hail, sunlight, and water damage will save you money, time, and aggravation in the long run.

Article By Natalie Jones

Photo via Pixabay

Affordable Homeownership Foundation and Center For Independent Living Gulf Coast Partner for Affordable Housing

 Progress on the

Single Room Occupancy Dwellings!

The pictures above are of the completed SRO Project, these are the two completed SRO Homes. We have a third under construction and will be completed early this year.

So, as the housing market soars so do rents and individuals who are on a fixed income like Veterans, Disabled, Youth Aging Out of Foster Care, and seniors and their choices for housing becomes greatly reduced. The average rent in our area starts at $1000 and goes up from there. The average person on Social Security Disability, or Social Security or a  stipend for rent (youth) make anywhere from $500-$1100 so many of these individuals are at risk of becoming homeless or are homeless because they don’t make enough money to rent anything.

Shared Housing is the only way to make the rent equation work, but who wants to live with people you don’t know? We found this out from our shared housing that we already rent. Getting along with people you don’t know and necessarily don’t want to know becomes an issue when someone’s habits that they have accrued over the many years get’s under someone else’s skin.

We looked at the Single Room Occupancy model four single room occupancy units under one roof. Each unit will have it’s own bedroom, Universal Design bathroom, and kitchenette. With a shared washer/dryer area, lounge and a case management office. This design allows each individual to stay in their own area with having minimal interaction with other housemates. The average rent for these units is $350 including utilities but not cable.

For more information or to get on the waiting list please call 239-689-4944 or send and e-mail regarding getting on the waiting list to: info@ahf.today, we look forward to hearing from you!

Good News! Share of U.S. Households without a Bank Account Continues to Drop

Share of U.S. Households without a Bank Account Continues to Drop
Unbanked Rate Declines to 6.5 Percent in 2017
For the third consecutive survey period, the number of U.S. households without a bank account fell, according to the results of the 2017 biennial National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households released today by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
“The good news is that our nation’s banking system is serving more American households than ever before. The bad news is that even as the overall number of people who are unbanked has declined, 8.4 million households continue to lack a banking relationship,” said FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams.
The percentage of U.S. households that were unbanked in 2017 the most recent year of the survey, was 6.5 percent, the lowest rate recorded since the FDIC began conducting the survey in 2009. It was down from 7.0 percent in 2015, and down significantly from a high of 8.2 percent in 2011. The unbanked numbers for 2017 equate to 14.1 million adults in 8.4 million households not having a checking or savings account.
The decline in the unbanked rate from 2015 to 2017 can be explained almost entirely by improvements in the socioeconomic circumstances of U.S. households.
The number of underbanked U.S. households was also down compared to 2015 levels. In 2017, 18.7 percent of U.S. households were considered underbanked, or approximately 48.9 million adults in 24.2 million households. For purposes of the survey, the term underbanked refers to households that had an account at an insured institution but also obtained financial products or services outside of the banking system.
Consistent with previous surveys, banking status in 2017 varied considerably across the U.S. population. For example, unbanked and underbanked rates were higher among lower-income households, less-educated households, younger households, black and Hispanic households, households headed by working-age individuals with a disability, and households with incomes that tend to vary from month to month.
Mobile banking continues to become an increasingly important way for consumers to access their accounts. In 2017, mobile banking was used by 40.4 percent of banked U.S. households to access their account, almost double the 23.2 percent four years earlier.
According to the survey results, 86.0 percent of banked households visited a bank branch in the past 12 months, and 35.4 percent visited ten or more times. This held true for households that used online or mobile banking as their primary means for accessing their accounts: 81.0 percent of banked households that used mobile banking as their primary method visited a branch in the past 12 months, and nearly one-quarter (23.0 percent) visited ten or more times.
Other key findings in the survey include:
• Nearly 13 percent of households (14.8 million households) demonstrated unmet demand for mainstream small-dollar credit, and a majority of these households (57.2 percent) reported staying current on bills in the prior year. The report notes that new underwriting technologies, such as those that rely on transactions in consumers’ checking accounts, could help expand credit availability for some of these households.
• One in five U.S. households (22.7 million households) did not use mainstream credit in the prior 12 months and, consequently, may lack a credit score. Black and Hispanic households at every income level evaluated in the survey were more likely to be in this condition than white households. The report notes that helping these households establish and build a credit history can make it easier for them to access credit on reasonable terms when a need arises.
• Along with 86 percent of banked households, almost one in six unbanked households visited a bank branch in the past year. The report notes that these visits may represent key opportunities to inform unbanked households about products and services that can meet their needs.
• While unbanked rates have fallen in recent years, those that remain unbanked have proven more and more likely to respond that they are “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to open a bank account in the next year (75.0 percent in 2017 versus 62.1 percent in 2013). This fact, along with evidence that certain population segments remain much more likely to be unbanked, suggests that strategies targeted at addressing barriers to bank account ownership for specific groups may help further reduce unbanked rates.
• The share of households reporting that they turned to nonbank firms in the last year for the provision of credit and transaction services tracked in the survey dropped to 22.1 percent, down from 24.0 percent in 2015 and 24.9 percent in 2013. The drop was evidenced in both the use of credit and transaction services.
The FDIC survey began in 2009 and is conducted every other year in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. It provides detailed national, state, and local data to inform understanding of access to banking and to support economic inclusion efforts.
Go to economicinclusion.gov for additional survey findings, to generate custom tables, and to download information from all five surveys. Data also is available for metropolitan areas and states.
Survey Results
###
Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation’s banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation’s banks and savings associations, 5,542 as of June 30, 2018. It promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars—insured financial institutions fund its operations.
FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at www.fdic.gov, by subscription electronically (go to www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html) and may also be obtained through the FDIC’s Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-77-2018

We are now a Guidestar Platinum Participant!

Squirrel’s Nest Resale Shop to Benefit Veterans & Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

The “Squirrels Nest” opened in 2016 with the goal that proceeds will help our Mission to help Veterans and Youth Aging Out of Foster Care.

All items in “The Nest” are donated items and are of great quality. We have a little of something for everyone, San Diego Hats, Baggalini  Purses, Jewelry, Books, CD’s all of music types, furniture, etc… Come by and see what we have to offer and help someone in need at the same time!  See you at The Nest!

AHF receives letter from the White House

Letter received from White House

Letter received from White House