Attorney General Becerra Calls on Federal Government to Increase Protections for Homeowners During COVID-19
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today, as part of a coalition of 35 attorneys general, sent letters to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria requesting further action to protect homeowners during the COVID-19 public health emergency. In the letters, the coalition argues that more expansive action is necessary to mitigate the long-term economic effects of the pandemic for families across the country.
“Already, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and are struggling to figure out how they will provide for their families in the coming months,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The federal government has to do more for homeowners and middle-class Americans. I urge Secretary Carson and Director Calabria to take additional action to lessen the economic blow of this unprecedented crisis.”
As a result of efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, many businesses have closed and whole industries have essentially shut down. Millions of Americans are now facing unemployment and financial uncertainty through no fault of their own — with initial unemployment claims reaching record levels in recent weeks. While the federal government has already acted to temporarily halt foreclosures and evictions for homeowners with government-backed mortgages until May 17, 2020 and to make forbearances available for homeowners with government-backed loans, further steps are necessary to meet the sweeping scope of the current emergency.
In the letters, the attorneys general urge Secretary Carson and Director Calabria to take the following actions to protect homeowners from the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Revise the forbearance programs so that forborne payments are made as additional monthly payments at the end of the loan's term, rather than requiring immediate repayment of the missed payments as a lump-sum at the end of the forbearance period;
- Expand eligibility for loss mitigation programs for borrowers emerging from forbearance; and
- Clarify that the federal moratorium on foreclosures and evictions applies to all aspects of the foreclosure and eviction processes.
Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting Californians and people across the country during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Last week, Attorney General Becerra called on the Trump Administration to exempt COVID-19 monetary relief from debt collection purposes and to continue enforcing the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Earlier this month, he issued guidance to help tenants understand their rights if they are unable to pay rent. The Attorney General called on the Trump Administration to withdraw a proposal that threatens to undermine the Community Reinvestment Act and limit access to critical financial services for low- and moderate-income communities. Attorney General Becerra also urged the federal government to instate a special enrollment period on HealthCare.Gov to help people access healthcare coverage during COVID-19. Last month, Attorney General Becerra called on Amazon and Whole Foods to step up efforts to protect workers by providing adequate paid sick leave. The Attorney General also called on nine large online marketplace companies to intensify their efforts to tackle price gouging on their platforms in relation to COVID-19. For the latest on COVID-19 preparedness, please visit https://covid19.ca.gov/.
In sending the letters to Secretary Carson and Director Calabria, Attorney General Becerra joins the attorneys general of Iowa, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.