Coronavirus news

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.

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.

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.

More details about mortgage relief and foreclosure from NeighborWorks America are posted here.

Information for homeowners with VA mortgages

New Protections for Homeowners with VA Mortgages, Effective July 27, 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.

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.

The State of The Nation’s Housing – 2021

Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies - 2021 Cover

Even as the US economy continues to recover, the inequalities amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic remain front and center. Households that weathered the crisis without financial distress are snapping up the limited supply of homes for sale, pushing up prices and further excluding less affluent buyers from homeownership. At the same time, millions of households that lost income during the shutdowns are behind on their housing payments and on the brink of eviction or foreclosure. A disproportionately large share of these at-risk households are renters with low incomes and people of color. While policymakers have taken bold steps to prop up consumers and the economy, additional government support will be necessary to ensure that all households benefit from the expanding economy.

HAC is a proud sponsor of Harvard’s State of the Nation’s Housing report.

Coronavirus news

Agencies Extend Housing Relief

Federal housing agencies put many special provisions into effect early in 2020 to help people deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and have extended them repeatedly. This table was updated on April 6, 2021 with new dates for the CDC eviction moratorium, HUD Section 184 and 184A loan guarantees, and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac owner-occupied homes. More details about actions taken in March 2021 are available here. This table will continue to be revised as more changes are announced.

 

Agency
and
Program 
 Policy  Expiration date Contact for more information
Centers for Disease Control Moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent  – applies to all tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus impacts 6/30/21 Landlord, state housing agency, community housing organization, local government, legal aid. Report Evictions that violate the moratorium to the CFPB, 855-411-2372.
USDA RD Section 502 direct loans and Section 504 direct loans Moratorium on foreclosures and evictions – USDA will not initiate foreclosures or complete foreclosures in process and will not evict residents  6/30/21 USDA RD service center
USDA RD Section 502 direct loans and Section 504 financing Temporary authorization to accept appraisals from local appraisers  9/30/21 USDA RD state office
USDA RD Section 502 guaranteed loans Moratorium on foreclosures and evictions – lenders that made loans guaranteed by USDA cannot initiate foreclosures or complete foreclosures in process and cannot evict residents  6/30/21
USDA RD service center
USDA RD Section 502 guaranteed loans Temporary exceptions related to appraisals, inspections and employment verifications  6/30/21 USDA RD service center
USDA RD Section 523 self-help Flexibilities for self-help housing organizations until further notice Self-help TMA provider or USDA RD service center
USDA RD Compilation of measures related to RD programs
HUD HOME program Waivers and suspensions of various requirements  9/30/21 HUD CPD Field Office
HUD Public and Indian housing programs, including HUD vouchers Waivers and suspensions of various requirements  6/30/21 HUD staff,  PIH-COVID@hud.gov
HUD Section 184 and 184A mortgage guarantees Moratorium on foreclosure and eviction of borrowers, as well as loan forbearance for borrowers, loan processing flexibilities, loss mitigation  6/30/21  HUD staff,  OLGINFO@hud.gov
FEMA Individuals and Households Program Remote inspections for disaster survivors until further notice
FEMA Helpline, 1-800-621-3362
Federal Housing Finance Agency/Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – single-family Moratorium on single-family foreclosures and evictions – lenders that are servicing single-family mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac cannot foreclose on homeowners or tenants, or evict residents from properties previously foreclosed on (“real estate owned” or “REO”)  6/30/21 Fannie MaeFreddie Mac
Federal Housing Finance Agency/Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – single-family homebuyers Flexibilities in connection with mortgage loan originations – related to appraisals, documenting income and verifying employment, using power of attorney at closing  4/30/21 Fannie MaeFreddie Mac
Federal Housing Finance Agency/Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – multifamily Mortgage forbearance – owners of multifamily rental property whose mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (check here and here to find out) can contact the mortgage servicer and request a temporary delay in making payments  6/30/21 Mortgage servicer
CARES Act Mortgage forbearance – homeowners whose mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (check here and here to find out if yours is) or are backed by a government entity (USDA, VA, FHA, HUD Native American Programs) can contact the mortgage servicer (the office or company you send mortgage checks to) and request a temporary delay in making payments  See relevant agency in this table
Mortgage servicer; HUD housing counseling agencyConsumer Financial Protection Bureau, 855-411-2372
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family mortgage insurance programs Foreclosure and eviction moratorium – lenders that made loans insured by FHA cannot initiate foreclosures or complete foreclosures in process and cannot evict residents  6/30/21 FHA Resource Center, 1-800-CALL-FHA
Department of Veterans Affairs Moratorium on foreclosures and evictions from properties secured by VA-guaranteed loans  6/30/21 VA loan staff, 1-877-827-3702

 

To provide additions, updates or corrections for this page, please contact  HAC staff.

Round-up of Recent Housing Announcements Related to Coronavirus

This page summarizes a number of announcements from federal agencies on housing policies related to the coronavirus pandemic, most of which were issued in March 2021. It is current as of April 5, 2021. HAC has posted a table here that shows the deadlines for many federal agencies’ provisions.

If you have a correction or an addition, please contact Leslie Strauss on HAC’s staff.

REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed changes that are intended to delay foreclosures on homeowners who have not been able to pay their mortgages for pandemic-related reasons. Comments are due May 10, 2021. (CFPB’s press release somewhat confusingly says comments are due “before May 11.”) Forbearance (permission to delay making mortgage payments) will end for almost 1.7 million homeowners in September and the following months, CFPB states, with many of them a year or more behind on their mortgage payments. The proposed rule changes would require lenders and servicers to wait until after December 31, 2021 before starting most foreclosures, to offer loan modifications to borrowers, and to take other steps. A separate bulletin for lenders advises them to prepare early for the wave of homeowners exiting forbearance.
DEADLINE EXTENSIONS
  • The Centers for Disease Control has extended the nationwide eviction moratorium through June 30, with some changes in wording. CDC also posted a new checklist version of the Eviction Protection Declaration for tenants to use. USDA RD announced that the moratorium applies to tenants in USDA-assisted properties. For more information, property owners and management agents can contact their RD servicing representative (on the linked page, click the Contact tab). Tenants can request information from HUD-certified housing counseling agencies.
  • The application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses (including nonprofits) was extended to May 31 by the PPP Extension Act of 2021.
  • HUD has revised and extended provisions for the Section 184 Native American and Section 184A Native Hawaiian mortgage guarantee programs. Moratoriums on foreclosure and eviction of borrowers are extended through June 30, 2021. Other date changes and expansions apply to loan processing flexibilities, borrower requests for forbearance, borrower eligibility for loss mitigation, and more.
  • Some flexibilities related to new single-family mortgage loans, put in place by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier in the pandemic, have been extended until April 30. These include alternative appraisals, alternative methods for documenting income and verifying employment before loan closing and expanded use of power of attorney.
  • Forbearance options for owners of rental property whose mortgages are held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are extended through June 30. Landlords who are experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic can request mortgage forbearance and must agree to certain tenant protections. For more information, contact a mortgage lender or servicer.
  • The Federal Housing Administration has extended some temporary policies through June 30, 2021. The policies provide flexibility in using exterior-only appraisals, re-verifying employment, verifying self-employment income, verifying rental income and use of escrow accounts for some borrowers in forbearance.
EXPIRATION
  • One of the Federal Housing Administration’s temporary policies expired on March 31, 2021. Mortgagee Letter 2020-16, issued in June 2020 and then extended, allowed FHA-approved lenders to endorse mortgages that had received forbearance because of the pandemic. FHA explained that fewer than 3 percent of FHA-approved mortgagees had requested endorsement of such mortgages, so it expected little impact from the provision’s expiration. Homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages can still request forbearance; currently that policy is in place through June 30, 2021.
OTHER TENANT-RELATED ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • The Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced in a joint statement that “both agencies will be monitoring and investigating eviction practices, particularly by major multistate landlords, eviction management services, and private equity firms, to ensure that they are complying with the law.” Evictions that violate the moratorium, as well as other unlawful debt collection practices, can be reported to the CFPB at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ or 855-411-2372.
  • USDA reminded owners and managers of USDA-financed multifamily properties that the CARES Act instituted a required 30-day notice before evicting a tenant, and that provision has no expiration date. The agency also noted that a lease cannot be terminated or not renewed as an alternative to eviction. USDA has also mailed letters to all Section 514 and 515 tenants about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program support that is being distributed through states and localities. For more information, contact an RD state office.
  • USDA’s multifamily housing office reminded stakeholders that tenants displaced by disasters are eligible for priority access to available units at RD rental properties. Their status may be documented by either an RD-issued Letter of Priority Engagement (for tenants from RD properties) or a registration letter issued by FEMA (for tenants from any properties). For more information, or to request a temporary waiver, property owners and management agents should contact their RD servicing representative (on the linked page, click the Contact tab). Tenants impacted by disasters can locate RD properties here and register with FEMA here or at 800-621-3362.

Covid-19 Cases Surpass 2.2 Million in Rural America

COVID 19 reported cases and deaths continue to grow at an accelerated pace. There are now more than 2.2 million rural cases, and there were nearly 900,000 new reported COVID-19 cases in rural areas over the last 30 days.   

UPDATE: COVID-19 in Rural America – DECEMBER 3, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America as of early December.

RURAL COVID-19 CASES INCREASED BY NEARLY 60 PERCENT IN THE LAST MONTH ALONE

Total Reported COVID-19 Cases February 20- December 3, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of December 3, 2020, there were more than 2.2 million reported cases of COVID-19 and approximately 38,000 associated deaths in communities outside of metropolitan areas. Between November 3 and December 3, communities outside of metropolitan areas reported 859,000 new cases of COVID-19 – a 63 percent increase over the month period. All but two U.S. counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and 93 percent of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

RURAL CASES CONTINUE AN UPWARD TREND

Newly Reported COVID-19 Cases February 20 – DECEMBER 3, 2020

Nationally, the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to increase and reported rural cases also continue to grow to their highest levels since the pandemic began. Between November 20 and December 3, rural areas reported an average of 29,552 cases per day. Similarly, rural reported COVID related deaths were up to an average of 434 per day compared to 331 deaths per day over the previous two-week period.

 

RURAL COVID CASES CONTINUE TO OUTPACE THE OUTSIDE METROPOLITAN POPULATION AS A WHOLE

Rural Share of COVID-19 Reported Cases

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban and suburban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. Since February 20, 2020, approximately 16 percent of the total reported COVID-19 cases were identified in rural communities. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to be larger than the outside metro proportion of the population. On December 3, 2020, 17 percent of new cases and 25 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

 

 

RURAL COVID-19 CASES ARE INCREASING IN THE UPPER MIDWEST AND WEST

Reported Rural COVID-19 Rates per 100,000

Only two U.S. counties have not reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. Rural America simultaneously has the highest and lowest rates of reported COVID-19 cases. There have been several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  In the past weeks, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the plains and upper Midwest, Southeastern, and Western states.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey. 

In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

The Housing Assistance Council is a national nonprofit organization that helps build homes and communities across rural America. 

Covid-19 Cases Surpass 900,000 In Rural America – 20,000 Deaths

Coronavirus cases in rural America are as high as they have been since the pandemic began. The level of reported rural cases and deaths from the virus now consistently outpace the rural share of the national population.

UPDATE: Covid-19 in Rural America

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America as of early October 2020.

 

MORE THAN 900,000 RURAL AMERICANS HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH COVID-19

Total Reported COVID-19 Cases February 20- October 1, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of October 1, 2020, there were more than 900,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and approximately 20,000 associated deaths in communities outside of metropolitan areas. All but 9 counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and nearly 80 percent of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

 

 

 

RURAL CASES ARE AT THEIR HIGHEST LEVELS SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN

Rural Share of COVID-19 Reported Cases

Nationally, the number of new COVID-19 cases have begun to increase again and reported rural cases have also grown to some of their highest levels since the pandemic began. Between September 17 and October 1, rural areas reported an average of 8,543 cases per day – an upward trend of about 25 percent in the past 14-day period. Similarly, rural reported COVID related deaths were up 17 percent over the past 14 days.

 

 

 

RURAL COVID CASES NOW OUTPACE THE OUTSIDE METROPOLITAN POPULATION AS A WHOLE

Rural Share of COVID-19 Reported Cases

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. Since February 20, 2020, about 12 percent of the total reported COVID-19 cases were identified in rural communities. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally. On September 1, 2020, approximately 15 percent of new COVID-19 cases and 19 percent of deaths were reported in rural communities. On October 1, 2020, 22 percent of new cases and 23 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

 

 

 

RURAL COVID-19 CASES ARE HIGHEST IN THE SOUTH AND INCREASING IN THE UPPER MIDWEST

Reported Rural COVID-19 Rates per 100,000

Over 99 percent of counties outside of Metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There have been several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities. From September 1- October 1, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the plains and upper Midwest, as well as in some Appalachian and southern communities.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.

In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas.

The Housing Assistance Council is a national nonprofit organization that helps build homes and communities across rural America.

Update: COVID-19 in Rural America – September 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including Rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America as of early September 2020.

 

TOTAL REPORTED COVID-19 CASES FEBRUARY 20- SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of September 10, 2020, there were more than 732,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and over 16,700 associated deaths in communities outside of Metropolitan Areas. All but 14 counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and nearly three-quarters of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

 

RURAL SHARE OF COVID-19 REPORTED CASES

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally. On August 10, 2020, approximately 12 percent of new COVID-19 cases and 18 percent of deaths were reported in rural communities. On September 10, 2020, 17.9 percent of new cases and 19.7 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

REPORTED RURAL COVID-19 RATES PER 100,000

Over 99 percent of counties outside of Metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There are several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  From August 10- September 10, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the upper Midwest and in some Appalachian and southern counties.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.
In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

Rural Unemployment Rate Declines, but 1.8 Million Rural Workers Still Unemployed

 

To access an interactive version of this map visit: https://arcg.is/Ov8bq 

The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that rural labor markets have rebounded somewhat from astronomical unemployment rates earlier this spring. Yet, over 1.8 million rural workers are still unemployed – many as a result of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 health crisis. The June jobs numbers revealed a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.8 percent for counties outside of metropolitan areas, down from the revised rural unemployment rate for May of 11.3 percent. The number of rural jobless fell from 2.2 million in May to an estimated 1.8 million for the month of June. At its peak in April, the BLS estimated approximately 2.8 million rural jobless with an unemployment rate of 13.6 percent in rural America.

While the rebound in the number of rural workers to just over 19 million is a positive development, there are still substantial concerns in rural labor markets as the nation still grapples with the COVID 19 health crisis. The rural unemployment rate is still nearly double the rate for February 2020 prior to the COVID crisis. Furthermore, the June job numbers do not reflect potential economic backsliding from the dramatic rise in COVID 19 cases over the summer. In the month of July there were almost as many new reported rural cases of COVID-19 than had been reported for the prior 5 months in total.

POTENTIAL UNEMPLOYMENT RAMIFICATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING

Jobs and employment conditions have traditionally been a bellwether and leading indicator for housing trends. While the unemployment caused by COVID-19 is unprecedented and unpredictable, the continued high jobless rates signal the potential for serious concerns across the housing spectrum. Many Americans have been buoyed by large scale federal unemployment benefits and economic stimulus which largely came to an abrupt end in August and has yet to be clearly reestablished. If rural unemployment rates continue at these elevated levels, the collateral impacts to almost all sectors of the housing market could be substantial – notably the ability of unemployed households to make rent and mortgage payments.

About the Data: Information for this Brief derives from HAC tabulations of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) reporting. https://www.bls.gov/lau/  In this Brief the terms “Outside Metropolitan Area” and “Rural” are used synonymously and refer to counties and population outside of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designated Metropolitan Areas. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Bulletin-18-04.pdf