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Help for Renters, Homeowners, and Landlords as Federal Protections Expire

If the coronavirus pandemic has impacted your finances so that you can’t keep up on your rent, utilities, or mortgage payments – or if you are trying to help someone in this situation – this page is for you. It lists resources where you can get advice, information about financial assistance, and more.

Updated August 27, 2021 – On August 26, the Supreme Court invalidated the Centers for Disease Control’s moratorium on evictions. State or local moratoriums are still in effect in some places

Help paying your rent

Search for rent and utilities help in this list of over 480 programs across the United States run by states, counties, and cities. The list is also available on this site from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, including notes about which programs are currently taking applications.

If you can’t access either of these lists online, call HUD at 1-800-569-4287 to find a housing counseling agency near you. Then call the housing counseling agency for help finding rent assistance.

Other information for renters

This step-by-step guide for people at risk of eviction was prepared by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Some state and local governments have protected residents against eviction. This summary of state and local eviction protections is offered by a legal assistance site, which warns the information can change quickly.

Information about the kinds of help available for renters and advice about what you can do to protect yourself is posted here by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Legal advice

Legal Aid offices can provide free legal assistance to people with low incomes. To find a Legal Aid office, search on this site.

Housing counseling

HUD sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country that can provide free advice on renting, defaults, foreclosures, credit issues, and buying a home. Services from HUD-certified housing counseling agencies provide unbiased and free information. To find a HUD-certified agency in your area, search this site or call HUD at 1-800-569-4287.

Help for homeowners

Information for homeowners is collected on this website.

If you have a mortgage from one of the programs in the list below, the lender can foreclose on you because foreclosure moratoriums ended on July 31. But they cannot evict you – moratoriums on evictions of homeowners were extended through September 30.

Information about mortgage forbearance (delayed payments) and other options for homeowners is available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Information for homeowners with VA mortgages

Information about assistance to help veterans avoid eviction is provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

New Protections for Homeowners with VA Mortgages, Effective July 27 is an article from the National Consumer Law Center.

Information for owners of rental property

If you need help because your tenants can’t pay rent, advice and resources are posted on this site by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

If your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (check here and here to find out), contact the bank you send mortgage payments to and request a temporary delay in making payments.

More information on housing assistance

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has compiled this website with links to many different kinds of housing help.

HAC News: October 12, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 21

HUD SECRETARY TO SPEAK AT THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE • USDA will reallocate rental assistance that was held in reserve • New report on rural rental housing production released • HAC updates disaster guide and issues supplement for recent hurricanes • Public charge proposal would limit admission to U.S. for immigrants who have used assistance or may need it in the future • AmeriCorps grant competition open • Fannie Mae offers funds for innovative health and housing ideas • Data map shows social mobility for every census tract • USDA launches interactive data tool to help address opioid epidemic • Bi-partisan opioid response bill to become law • USDA moves to modernize homeownership programs’ field staff functions as staffing levels decline • Public input sought for modifications to Fannie Mae’s Duty to Serve plan • Research indicates rural families benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit • USDA manufactured housing pilots expanding further • HAC webinar to cover proposed changes to Community Reinvestment Act

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 21

HUD SECRETARY TO SPEAK AT THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE.
Register now for the conference, to be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. HUD Secretary Ben Carson is confirmed as one of the keynote speakers.

USDA will reallocate rental assistance that was held in reserve.
Over 2,900 units of Section 521 Rental Assistance, which had been used in properties that left USDA’s portfolio during FY 2017 and 2018 and have been held in the Rural Housing Service Administrator’s reserve, are now being reallocated to the states where they were formerly used. USDA’s Unnumbered Letter (dated September 19, 2018) lists the number of units for each state. These units cannot be used as incentives for owners who want to prepay their USDA mortgages. For more information, contact a USDA RD State Office.

New report on rural rental housing production released.
HAC, in conjunction with the Urban Institute, published Rental Housing for a 21st Century Rural America: A Platform for Production. The report analyzes the demand for new affordable rental housing in rural places and suggests ways to increase funding and capacity to deliver new units. It acts as a companion piece to HAC’s Rental Housing for a 21st Century Rural America: A Platform for Preservation.

HAC updates disaster guide and issues supplement for recent hurricanes.
The full disaster guide provides updated contact lists and information on relevant organizations to contact after a disaster including FEMA, HUD and USDA, while a Florence-specific supplement provides more detailed information on short- and long-term resources to residents and communities affected by Florence in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia and a supplement for Hurricane Michael covers Florida and other states. A recent GAO blog post and report explain how decisions about disaster declarations and individual assistance are made, along with recommendations.

Public charge proposal would limit admission to U.S. for immigrants who have used assistance or may need it in the future.
The Department of Homeland Security proposes to revise the standards used to determine whether noncitizens may become “public charges” who need government assistance and to require them “to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits.” Housing Choice Vouchers, project-based Section 8 and public housing are specifically mentioned. The changes would apply to those who are in the U.S. and want to adjust their status (for example, to obtain a green card), as well as to those wanting to enter the U.S. as nonimmigrants or immigrants. Comments are due December 10. For more information, contact Mark Phillips, DHS, 202-272-8377.

AmeriCorps grant competition open.
Nonprofits, tribes, local and state governments and institutions of higher education can compete for grants that will be used to engage AmeriCorps community service members. FY19 funding priorities are economic opportunity, education, prescription drug and opioid abuse, veterans and military families, rural intermediaries, public safety and faith-based organizations. Deadlines vary by state. For more information, contact Corporation for National and Community Service staff.

Fannie Mae offers funds for innovative health and housing ideas.
Applications are due November 1 for a new round of Fannie Mae’s Innovation Challenge, seeking innovative technologies, policies, practices and/or programs at the intersection of affordable housing and health and wellness. Public, private and nonprofit organizations, as well as individuals and teams, are eligible, with cross-sector teams encouraged.

Data map shows social mobility for every census tract.
A Harvard University team worked with the Census Bureau and Brown University to create a new tool, the Opportunity Atlas. Using data from Census and IRS, it shows average outcomes in adulthood of people who grew up in each census tract, including data on income, graduation, incarceration, and employment rates. It is the first dataset that provides such longitudinal information at a detailed neighborhood level.

USDA launches interactive data tool to help address opioid epidemic.
USDA Assistance Secretary Anne Hazlett has announced the creation of an opioid misuse Community Assessment Tool. It combines substance misuse data with socioeconomic, census and other public information to provide community leaders and policymakers with a more complete understanding of how to address the opioid epidemic on a local level. This tool was launched following President Trump’s declaration of October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

Bi-partisan opioid response bill to become law.
Passed overwhelmingly by the Senate on October 3 and the House on September 28, H.R. 6 addresses the opioid crisis, which has hit hard in rural areas. Among the legislation’s many provisions are amendments to Medicare regulations and authorization of federal funding, to be distributed through states, to provide temporary housing for people in recovery. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

USDA moves to modernize homeownership programs’ field staff functions as staffing levels decline.
Recognizing that RD’s overall staffing has been declining, an Unnumbered Letter (August 31, 2018) explains agency plans to standardize state staffing for the single-family housing programs. The letter also says that, because vacant positions cannot be filled, “core SFH functions in some states will be impacted, in some cases severely,” and promises more information about that impact soon. For more information, contact an RD State Office.

Public input sought for modifications to Fannie Mae’s Duty to Serve plan.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency asks for comments on four of 22 requests from Fannie Mae (none from Freddie Mac) tomodify its Underserved Markets Plan under the Duty to Serve program. The proposed changes relate to distressed properties, manufactured housing chattel loans, rural LIHTC properties and small financial institutions in rural areas. Comments are due November 2. For more information, contact FHFA staff.

Research indicates rural families benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit.
A new research brief from the Carsey School of Public Policy highlights the Earned Income Tax Credit’s impact on families with children. EITC Continues to Reach Families in Poor Places shows that the share of people who file for the EITC who are also families with children is especially high in the poorest counties, many of which are nonmetropolitan. The researchers argue this data suggests that EITC can provide additional support for families in places where other services may not be readily available or accessible.

USDA manufactured housing pilots expanding further.
One pilot allows the Section 502 direct and guarantee programs to finance existing manufactured homes that are not already financed by USDA. The second reduces the required land lease term for energy-efficient homes in nonprofit communities. RD State Directors can ask for their states to be added to either pilot. For more information, contact an RD State Office.

HAC webinar to cover proposed changes to Community Reinvestment Act.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently issued a call for input on a proposed new framework to transform and modernize its Community Reinvestment Act rules. Join HAC on October 24 at 2:00 pm Eastern for an overview of the proposed changes and a discussion on how rural communities can weigh in. Registration is free.

HAC offers Section 502 packaging training courses in Nebraska and DC.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held October 30-November 1 in Lincoln, NE and again December 5-7 in Washington, DC (simultaneously with HAC’s conference). For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?
HAC’s loan funds provide low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, farmworker, senior, and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, and construction/rehabilitation. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.
Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

HAC News: December 16, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 25

• FY16 funding bill increases Rental Assistance and HOME • Tax extenders bill would make 9% LIHTC and EITC permanent • Highway law includes HUD housing provisions • House committee approves housing bill • FHFA proposes new duty to serve rule for Fannie and Freddie • HUD final rule defines chronic homelessness • FY16 Fair Market Rents set • Comments on manufactured home code requested • Rental housing study finds growing demand • KEEP YOUR HAC NEWS COMING – BY EMAIL!

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 25

FY16 funding bill increases Rental Assistance and HOME. The omnibus appropriations bill, which is expected to become law, raises some of USDA’s rental housing programs above the levels previously considered by House and Senate committees. Increases were possible because the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act raised the spending cap for FY16 (see HAC News, 10/28/15); caps will be lower for FY17. Section 521 Rental Assistance, which did not have enough funding in FY15 (see HAC News 11/11/15), gets almost $1.39 billion, $75 million of which is set aside for renewing RA contracts that use up their funds before the end of their 12-month contract periods. USDA is required to provide quarterly reports on Rental Assistance use. Section 542 vouchers – for tenants in properties whose Section 515 loans have been prepaid – are allocated $15 million. The MPR rental preservation program receives $22 million. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16 Budget Proposal

FY16 House Cmte. Bill
(H.R. 3049)

FY16 Senate Cmte. Bill
(S. 1800)

FY16
Omnibus
Approps. Bill

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$900
5

$900
0

$900
5

$900
5

$900
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

26

28.7

28.7

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

28.4

42.3

28.4

28.4

28.4

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.6

23.9

23.9

23.6

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

1,110

1,089

1,172

1,167

1,167

1,390

523 Self-Help TA

25

27.5

10

27.5

27.5

27.5

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

3.5

0

3.5

3.5

3.5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

150

200

150

200

150

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

20

17

19

17

17

22

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

12.6

7

15

7

7

15

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

6

4

4

4

4

4

Despite previously proposed cuts in the House and Senate funding bills, the omnibus raises HOME program funding above its FY15 level to $950 million. CDBG remains at $3 billion, and SHOP continues at $10 million.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16
Budget
Proposal

FY16
House Bill
H.R. 2577

FY16 Sen. Apps. Cmte. Bill (H.R. 2577)

FY16
Omnibus
Approps. Bill

Cmty. Devel. Fund
CDBG

3,100
3,030

3,066
3,000

2,880
2,800

3,060
3,000

2,900
2,900

3,060
3,000

HOME

1,000

900

1,060

767

66

950

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10

10a

10

10

10

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
VASH setaside

19,177.2
75

19,304
75

21,123
b

19,919

19,934
75

19,628
60

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,516.6

9,330

10,360

10,254

10,426

10,622

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,875

1,875

1,970

1,681

1,743

1,900

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,400

4,440

4,600

4,440

4,500

4,500

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

90

80

250

20

65

125

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

660

650

650

650

Homeless Assistance Grantsc

2,105

2,135

2,480

2,185

2,235

2,250

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

330

330

332

332

330

335

202 Hsg. for Elderly

385.3

436

455

416.5

420

432.7

811 Hsg. for Disabled

126

135

177

152

137

150.6

Fair Housing

66

65.3

71

65.3

69.5

65.3

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

110

110

120

75

110

110

Housing Counseling

45

47

60

47

47

47

Local Housing Policy Grants

300

a. The FY16 Administration budget, like past budget requests, would have made SHOP a setaside in HOME. Congress has consistently rejected that proposal. b. The budget would have made VASH vouchers for homeless veterans part of a new $177.5 million account covering others as well. c. Includes the Rural Housing Stability Program, which is not yet operational.

Tax extenders bill would make 9% LIHTC and EITC permanent. Congressional leaders negotiated a tax bill that would make the 9% minimum Low Income Housing Tax Credit floor permanent and retroactive to January 1, 2015. It would extend the New Markets Tax Credit for five years at $3.5 million per year. It also makes permanent the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The House may vote on December 17, and the Senate after that.

Highway law includes HUD housing provisions. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (H.R. 22), signed into law on December 4, included four housing measures that passed the House earlier in 2015. One lets public and assisted housing administrators verify income once every three years instead of annually for tenants with fixed incomes. One allows private nonprofits to administer permanent housing rental assistance provided through the Continuum of Care Program. Another permits owners (including nonprofits) of HUD multifamily housing to use property income. The fourth authorizes a HUD demonstration program for energy- and water-saving agreements.

House committee approves housing bill. On December 10, the House Committee on Financial Services approved H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2015. The bill makes some changes in HUD rental programs, including altering tenants’ income calculations.

FHFA proposes new duty to serve rule for Fannie and Freddie. The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulation will implement a statutory requirement for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve the rural, manufactured housing, and affordable housing preservation markets. An FHFA webinar on December 22 will explain the rule and address questions submitted in advance. Comments will be due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Contact Jim Gray, FHFA, 202-649-3124. HAC will hold a webinar focusing on the rural component of the rule, probably in January, and will post its comments at ruralhome.org before the deadline. Contact Lance George, HAC, 202-842-8600.

HUD final rule defines chronic homelessness. The definition will be used in HUD’s Continuum of Care Program and in jurisdictions’ ConPlans. Contact Norm Suchar, HUD, 202-708-4300.

FY16 Fair Market Rents set. HUD’s final FMRs took effect Dec. 11. Contact a local HUD program office.

Comments on manufactured home code requested. HUD invites the public to propose changes to update and revise its Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. Comments are due March 31 and will be submitted to the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee for review and consideration. Contact Pamela Beck Danner, HUD, 202-708-6423.

Rental housing study finds growing demand. America’s Rental Housing:Expanding Options for Diverse and Growing Demand, by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, documents increases in households renting their homes, resulting in increased cost burden rates at all income levels from 2001 to 2014. The lowest-income households far outnumber the rental units affordable to them.

KEEP YOUR HAC NEWS COMING – BY EMAIL! Beginning in 2016, the print version of the HAC News will no longer be available. The News will still be published every two weeks, will still provide the same concise updates on issues important to rural housers, and will still be free. Back issues will continue to be available online at https://ruralhome.org. Sign up now to receive the News by email: https://oi.vresp.com/?fid=d6efb14510.

HAC Recommends Notifying Tenants about Maturing Mortgages

On August 7, 2014, HAC wrote a letter to Tony Hernandez, USDA’s rural housing programs administrator, to express concern about tenants in properties that will lose USDA Section 521 Rental Assistance when their USDA mortgages mature. Over 8,000 properties with Section 515 or Section 514 mortgages are expected to make their last payments to USDA by the year 2020. Because many of the tenants rely on USDA Section 521 Rental Assistance, which is available only when a USDA mortgage is in place, thousands of tenants in those 8,000 properties risk losing their aid when these mortgages mature.

HAC’s letter to Hernandez encourages USDA to follow HUD’s practice and ask property owners to notify tenants at least nine months before their Rental Assistance ends. The letter also asks for a dialogue between HAC, USDA, and other interested parties to identify approaches to keeping the housing affordable.