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Biden extends pandemic help for homeowners; renters wait

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 7:45 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 7:51 AM EST
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The moratorium on foreclosures of federally guaranteed mortgages had been set to expire on March 31. On his first day in office, Biden had extended the moratorium from Jan. 31. Census Bureau figures show that almost 12% of homeowners with mortgages were late on their payments.

The White House says the coordinated actions announced Tuesday by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture also will extend to June 30 the enrollment window for borrowers who want to request mortgage payment forbearance — a pause or reduction in payments — and will provide up to six additional months of forbearance for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30 of last year.

The White House says more than 10 million homeowners are behind on mortgage payments and Biden’s actions are to help keep people in their homes amid “a housing affordability crisis” triggered by the pandemic. It says “homeowners will receive urgently needed relief as we face this unprecedented national emergency.”

Biden’s administration says extending forbearance policies “will provide critical support to homeowners of color, who make up a disproportionate share of borrowers” having trouble paying their loans because of hardships related to the pandemic.

The actions announced Tuesday don’t address a federal moratorium through March 31 on evictions of tenants who’ve fallen behind on rent.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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