Supervisors OK $5.5M to help prevent foreclosures amid pandemic

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Help in the form of $5.5 million to prevent foreclosures and link homeowners struck by the pandemic with mortgage assistance is underway, following a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors vote Tuesday. 

Their unanimous vote comes ahead of a co-authored motion from supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis that called for a “two-pronged approach.” 

“We have been able to make progress keeping renters in L.A. County in their homes during this crisis by implementing an eviction moratorium and putting $100 million toward rent relief for families struggling to pay rent,” said Hahn in a statement. “But homeowners are struggling too and without a concerted effort on the county’s part, we may be facing a wave of oncoming foreclosures and homelessness.”

The first portion, or $1.5 million, will connect homeowners facing foreclosure with prevention counselors who can help with loan modifications, work with lenders to keep them in their homes, and forbearance, which “allows homeowners to suspend their monthly payments when they experience a coronavirus-related hardship without the usual consequences of delinquency or even foreclosure,” according to the motion.

The second is $4 million to establish the Mortgage Financial Relief program, which will focus on the areas experiencing higher levels of foreclosures and will offer deferred and forgivable loans to homeowners to help stabilize their mortgage with their loan servicer.

“Housing is a human right and as a result of the economic fallout of this COVID-19 crisis, many impacted individuals and families are on the brink of experiencing homelessness through no fault of their own,” said Solis in a statement. “In the midst of this unprecedented global pandemic, many workers in L.A. County are unemployed indefinitely, and one of the critical steps we can take right now is to keep them in their homes.”

When the program is developed, services will be available through the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, county officials said. 

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