How to Get Help with your Mortgage During COVID-19

How to Get Help with your Mortgage During COVID-19

Philadelphia homeowners with individual questions should call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday- Friday at 215-334-4663.

Everyone shares the same basic needs: a warm and safe place to live, enough food to eat,  and to care and be cared for by their loved ones. Philadelphians work hard every day to create happy and healthy lives for their families, but the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing them to face unprecedented challenges. Millions of people are suddenly without jobs or are making do with reduced hours, creating an economic crisis. As a result, many homeowners are suffering financial hardship and may have difficulty making their mortgage payments. 

The Consumer Housing Unit and the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at Philadelphia Legal Assistance have spoken to hundreds of Philadelphians who are worried about their homes. Common areas of concern include loss of income due to unemployment, the death of a family member, or falling behind on mortgage payments. Luckily, there are different forms of assistance available to support these homeowners. 

 

Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP): 

A major form of assistance that has recently been made available is the Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP). PMAP is a grant that can help pay past and future missed mortgage payments up to $1,000/month for any month from March to December 2020 (limit: 6 months) if you meet the following main criteria:

  1. You live in the home for which you're applying for assistance
  2. You lost your job or 30% of your income after March 1 due to COVID-19
  3. Your household income is now under 100% of the Area Median Income (e.g., $87,000 for a family of 3)
  4. You are at least 30 days behind on your mortgage payments or rent-to-own payments at the time you apply

Funds are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. We strongly urge anyone who is behind in their mortgage payments or fears falling behind to apply as soon as possible. For more information or to apply please visit:  https://www.phfa.org/pacares/mortgage.aspx 

 

Protections under the Federal CARES Act: 

Under the Federal CARES Act, most homeowners are eligible for assistance from their mortgage companies but they have to ask for help. This applies to all mortgages insured or owned by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration, Rural Housing, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Homeowners with private mortgages may also be able to get assistance from their mortgage companies.

Most homeowners can delay making mortgage payments for up to twelve months by asking for what is known as a “forbearance.” Payments that are postponed due to forbearance can be caught up later by adding the payments to the end of the loan or working out another agreement to repay over time. In most cases, missed payments will not have to be paid back all at once. If homeowners cannot afford their regular mortgage payment after the forbearance ends, they can ask the mortgage company to review them for a more affordable payment.

 

Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures:

Governor Tom Wolf signed a new executive order that protects homeowners and renters from eviction or foreclosure until Aug 31, 2020 provided they have not received assistance from the Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP) administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) or are not already receiving relief through one of several federal foreclosure moratorium programs or judicial orders. Lenders and property owners that receive funds through the PHFA program agree not to pursue foreclosure or eviction actions as a condition of participation in the program.

 

Save Your Home Philly Hotline

The Save Your Home Philly Hotline at Philadelphia Legal Assistance serves as a central point of contact for Philadelphia homeowners at risk of foreclosure. The Hotline provides advice, brief service, and referrals to thousands of Philadelphia homeowners each year. 

When a homeowner calls the Hotline, they work with a trained paralegal who answers their questions and reviews the case for a legal need. If a homeowner needs to apply for mortgage assistance, the Hotline refers them to a DHCD-certified housing counselor. (Most appointments are done remotely, with limited in-person services available). For low-income callers with a legal need, the Hotline may refer their case to Philadelphia Legal Assistance or another legal services office. 

Homeowners at any stage of the foreclosure process, from pre-foreclosure through court dates and sheriff sale, may call the Hotline for help with saving their homes. If you would like information about mortgage assistance programs to stop or prevent foreclosure for Philadelphia homeowners, the Save Your Home Philly Hotline can help.