Nonprofit offers free foreclosure prevention counseling for homeowners

Posted at 6:59 AM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 19:56:56-04

MILWAUKEE — The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ended July 25 in Wisconsin and many families desperately need financial relief. Without money coming in, making that monthly mortgage payment seems impossible.

Since the start of the pandemic, mortgage companies have been fielding a large volume of calls from homeowners who need help.

Emmett Gross with the nonprofit, Housing Resources, says this is all new territory for a lot of people.

"We get a lot of people they've made their mortgage payments their whole life and this is the first time they missed a mortgage payment and they're afraid they're going to get kicked out of their house by the end of the month," said Gross, a foreclosure prevention counselor with the agency.

Gross helps homeowners understand that's not the case. He encourages consumers to first call your lender and ask about your options. One of which, could be setting up a forbearance plan, where you suspend or reduce your mortgage payments.

According to a recent report from the Mortgage Banker's Association, as of June 21, there are an estimated 4.2 million mortgages in forbearance.

"Those forbearances are just designed to buy time. They don't, by themselves, solve the situation," Gross explained. You will eventually have to make those payments. But putting a pause on them buys you time to figure it out and Housing Resources can walk you through what you need.

Gross says start gathering common documents mortgage companies will want like income documentation for the last thirty days, bank statements for the last thirty to sixty days and tax returns for the last two years.

"Getting that paperwork together and getting it off to the mortgage company, that's like ninety percent of the work," he said.

If you have a federally backed mortgage through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, under the CARES act, your lender can't foreclose on you until at least Aug. 31.

If you're already in forbearance, click here to reviews the next steps recommended by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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