Federal Housing Administration extended its COVID-19 toolkit to help all eligible borrowers struggling to avoid foreclosure
Submitted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced that, thanks to Federal Housing Administration (FHA) programs, approximately 2 million homeowners with FHA mortgages, including 73,700 in New York, avoided foreclosure. They were able to stay in their homes from March 2020 through December 2022, ensuring the health and safety of their families. FHA borrowers struggling to make mortgage payments due to the pandemic received either COVID-19 forbearance or a permanent loan modification that allowed them to avoid foreclosure.
“Although the pandemic has ended, the economic effects will remain a challenge for the foreseeable future,” Fudge said. “These impactful and effective foreclosure prevention tools will help struggling borrowers find the right option to help them get back on their feet and keep them in their homes. These tools have been so successful already, which is why FHA worked to enhance them further and include more borrowers.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of homeowners lost their jobs or saw their earnings reduced, making it difficult to keep up with their mortgage payments. HUD’s Federal Housing Administration assisted struggling homeowners by providing the following options:
√ Forbearance – owners received a paused or reduced mortgage payment for a period of time.
√ Home retention support – owners received an option designed to help them return to sustainable mortgage payments, bring their mortgage payment current, and avoid foreclosure. This includes options such as putting arrearages at the end of their mortgage or obtaining a loan modification.
"The high cost of living and property taxes make living in New York particularly challenging for struggling homeowners, especially during the pandemic when so many lost their jobs," said Alicka Ampry-Samuel, HUD regional administrator for New York and New Jersey. "In addition to providing forbearance, HUD's Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, provided nearly 51,200 New Yorkers home retention support to keep families in their homes at a critical time when they needed to remain isolated and safe from COVID."
Noting the effectiveness, last week FHA extended its COVID-19 toolkit at least for the next 18 months to help all eligible borrowers struggling to avoid foreclosure, regardless of the reason for their hardship.
Included in the new enhancements are updates that also increase the limit on the amount of interest-free arrearages that borrowers can pay at the end of their mortgage term to help maximize the number of borrowers able to retain their homes despite higher interest rates. The mandatory effective date of the changes is April 30, 2023, but mortgage servicers may begin offering these options to borrowers immediately.
In the last two years, FHA has helped 1,845,000 mortgage holders enter into an agreement with their mortgage servicer to have their mortgage payments paused or reduced (forbearance) due to COVID-19. Additionally, 1.2 million (most of whom obtained this help after a forbearance) were able to resume payments and put any arrearages at the end of their mortgage, or obtain a loan modification that reduced their payment to avoid foreclosure. Currently, another 58,000 borrowers are working with their servicer to finalize an option to avoid foreclosure. For borrowers of color specifically, FHA helped 800,000 individuals and families of color through forbearance, and almost 550,000 through a loss mitigation option.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available at www.hud.gov and https://espanol.hud.gov. Connect with HUD on social media or follow Fudge on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD's email list.