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These Programs Prevent Catastrophic Home Loss in America

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  • Certain programs prevent catastrophic home loss in the US.
  • These plans have had good results in New Jersey, New York, and South Carolina.
  • Research found that tenants are suffering financial hardship.

Chandra Dobbs was surprised to see the policeman at her door with the documents to evict her, as she thought she had more time. Her case illustrates the catastrophic home loss in the U.S. in recent days.

“I thought they weren’t going to kick me out of the house because I had applied for public assistance,” said Dobbs, a Tucson, Arizona resident, a few days later. “But they refused to wait for the statutory period of four to six weeks, so we are on the street: me, my 16-year-old son, my daughter and my grandson who is still a baby.”

Cases across the country

Photo: Getty Images

She is not the only one to be surprised these days when the United States government has ended the moratorium on evictions although it continues to provide assistance to tenants. Instead of the steep rise in home losses that were feared, many homeowners are waiting for public assistance to arrive.

But while some jurisdictions prohibit evicting tenants who have submitted an application, most do not.

Delayed program

Photo: AP

According to court documents, Dobbs lost his home because he owed $ 3,837, of which $ 2,700 was for rent and the rest was due to fines and legal costs. Encore Management LLC, the company that owns the home, did not respond to calls seeking comment. Dobbs, who lost her job as an exotic dancer during the pandemic, says they are temporarily staying with a friend while consulting with an NGO for financial assistance.

After a delayed start, the plan to distribute the first $ 25 billion of the $ 46.5 billion care plan is accelerating. Treasury Department sources indicate that the program has benefited 420,000 homes since August – an increase from 340,000 in July – and has distributed $ 7.7 billion since January.

Program progress

Photo: Getty Images

Sources indicate that the plan is progressing well in New Jersey, New York and South Carolina, where it got off to a sluggish start. New Jersey, for example, did not disburse any aid in the first three months of the year but has now distributed 78% of the first tranche and doubled the number of homes benefited in August compared to July.

Disbursements in Florida rose from $ 60.9 million in July to $ 141.4 million in August, while in South Carolina they rose from $ 10.6 million to $ 25.3 million and in New York they rose from $ 8.5 million to 307 million.

Importance of assistance

Photo: Shutterstock

“These figures are preliminary, uncertain and there is probably a lot of pain that is not reflected in these reports,” said Gene Sperling, coordinator of the economic rescue program, “but what has been achieved is much better than the best scenario that was foreseen after the end of the moratorium ”.

Sperling believed that financial assistance and housing alternatives programs are the reasons why the huge amounts of home losses have not materialized, but emphasizes the importance of continuing to send cash assistance to landlords.

Government aid

Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a new rule that prohibits homeowners affiliated with the department from expelling tenants without giving them at least a 30-day grace period and information on how to obtain public assistance. Some tenants have benefited from other moratoriums that have continued, such as the one in California that ended last month, the one in New York that lasts until the end of the year and the one in Boston that still stands.

Others – in places like Washington, Texas, Philadelphia and New Hampshire – have benefited from new programs that seek to keep eviction cases out of court and to keep tenants in their homes. Some court systems have enforced rules that suspend the removal of a person who has applied for state assistance, and at least three states and 10 municipalities have passed measures offering free legal assistance in cases of home loss.

“Do not evict tenants”

Photo: Getty Images

Diane Yentel, president of an NGO that helps low-income people, indicated that the organization has called on state and local authorities to keep the moratoriums in place, even when they have expired at the federal level.

Homeowners associations have encouraged their members to desist from expelling tenants who have applied for public assistance, but not all of them are listening. In particular, small property owners have their own financial pressures, having to pay their own mortgages and taxes.

Many cooperate

Photo: Shutterstock

“The vast majority of landlords have been cooperating with tenants not to have to put them out on the street for almost two years,” said Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, president of the Arizona Homeowners Association. Gilstrap LeVinus has defended owners during the health crisis, noting that many of them have been on the brink of bankruptcy.

Many landlords have made deep concessions during the pandemic, allowing renters to pay late or not at all, according to two investigations of smallholders by the Terner Center of Housing Innovation, the University of California-Berkeley and the Center for Housing Studies. from Harvard University.

Suffering financial hardship

Photo: Getty Images

Investigations found that tenants are also suffering financial hardship. Some have had to sell their properties, which could cause a decline in affordable housing in some communities. Paul Wunder, another Tucson resident who lost his home, believes that all landlords should wait for financial assistance before evicting tenants.

“If they wait just a month, they’ll get their money,” says Wunder, a 66-year-old Marine Corps veteran who lost his job as an air conditioning technician. “If they throw us out, they don’t get anything,” he added.

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