Fair Housing Covid-19 Response Efforts 3.19.2020

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

March 18, 2020

What happened on March 18, 2020:

  • Foreclosures:  HUD announced that it was directing all lenders and servicers which service FHA-backed mortgages to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.  You can read the guidance here. The moratorium on foreclosures applies only to mortgages on single-family homes with FHA or HUD mortgages. The moratorium on evictions applies only to homeowners or former homeowners, not to tenants living in a foreclosed property.
  • Foreclosures: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac suspended foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers for 60 days.  You can read Fannie Mae’s announcement here and Freddie Mac’s announcement here. There does not appear to be a moratorium on the start of foreclosure actions or evictions of tenants.
  • Foreclosures:  CHFA is sending a directive to all of the mortgage companies and banks that service its mortgages to put a stay on all evictions of homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure. 
  • Evictions:  The widely reported halt of evictions announced by HUD does NOT protect residential tenants from eviction.
  • Outreach: Staff centralized COVID-19 fair housing communications and translated fair housing protections related to the public health crisis into 7 different languages. Found here
  • Outreach:  Staff distributed daily housing update to over 300 advocates, and the entire Connecticut General Assembly. If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.
  • Outreach: Staff worked on a collective action strategy with CWEALF, ACLU, and many other organizations to address the needs of underserved populations in Connecticut.
  • People who are homeless:  Shelter guidance from the Department of Housing instructs shelters to remain open.
  • People who are homeless: Rapid Rehousing funds are prioritized for elderly individuals. 

What has NOT happened:

  • No moratorium on the filing of new eviction and foreclosure actions.
  • No moratorium on the filing of new requests for execution or default motions against people facing eviction or foreclosure.
  • No moratorium on the postponement of imminent law days in foreclosure actions.
  • No moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a tenant is late paying the rent.
  • No moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a homeowner is late making a mortgage payment.
  • Housing authorities are have not said how they will handle extensions of time on housing choice vouchers, the need for inspections of new units, or staying notices of voucher terminations.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.
  • Many closing dates for people buying homes have been postponed or canceled because town clerk’s offices are closed or open only limited hours. Title insurers have made arrangements to provide “gap” coverage for these circumstances.

What we are learning from our clients

  • Housing providers are complaining that children at home are too noisy and we anticipate an increase in discrimination complaints from families with children.
  • Housing Quality Standard inspections that permit voucher holders to enter new housing opportunities are delayed.
  • Individuals are still being denied housing because of their criminal record even for very minor and old offenses.
  • Increases in subsidized rental payments are continuing.
  • Tenants are being harassed by other tenants because of their race and national origin.
  • Law days which result in a homeowner losing title to their homes continue to “pass.”  In fact, one court clerk’s office told people on Monday that their Tuesday law day would be extended automatically because of all the recent announcements. It was not, and the homeowner lost their home on Wednesday.
  • State-regulated (including state-chartered) mortgage companies needlessly apply for executions of ejectment in disregard of actions taken by the courts.
  • Landlords continue to issue Notices to Quit and start eviction actions.
  • People continue to lose jobs and income as bars, restaurants, hairdressers, etc. close.

Get Help

  • Contact your mortgage company about getting a forbearance on your mortgage if you have been laid off or lost income hours.  Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.

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