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COVID-19 Housing Resources and Updates

Updated: May 12

In her April 27 proclamation, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa's moratorium on evictions and foreclosures will not be extended past May 27. With thousands of Iowa households struggling to meet their basic needs -- and no state or federal commitment for rent or mortgage relief -- the end of the moratorium means families facing mounting bills and the threat of losing their homes in the middle of a pandemic. Safe, stable housing for all is ALWAYS good public policy. And, the importance of affordable and permanent housing has never been more clear. Below is some information for renters and homeowners about possible next steps. Knowing about these resources are key to protecting our rights and making informed decisions. Please share these resources widely with your colleagues, clients, friends, and loved ones. For some families, this will be the first time they have experienced this level of economic uncertainty, and they may not know where to go for help. For all families, the road ahead will be uncertain and new, as federal and local guidelines/resources continue to evolve.

UTILITIES (for renters and homeowners) The cities of Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty have agreed to temporarily waive any late fees and leave water on for all customers. We do not know how long this waiver will last. If you cannot pay your water bill: 1. Contact your city and ask about payment options, including partial payments or deferral. 2. The Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition has asked the cities of Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty to consider forgiving utility bills for households experiencing a loss of income. So far, none of the cities has agreed, in part because they haven't seen a demonstrated need for this type of relief. If you are having trouble paying your utility bill, PLEASE make your voice heard. 3. Contact United Way for direct assistance at 319-259-9218 4. Contact Johnson County Social Services General Assistance at 319-356-6090 5. Contact CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank for basic needs assistance at 319-351-0128 on Monday mornings between 9 and 11 am RENTERS Iowa is currently under a moratorium on evictions. This moratorium is predicted to end on May 27, 2020. Most, but not all, evictions are covered under this moratorium. If a resident poses a "clear and present danger," they may still be evicted during this moratorium. The moratorium prevents eviction, but rent is still owed. Even if you do not pay your rent on time, you should not be charged late fees, per the governor's order. Once the eviction moratorium is lifted, landlords will be able to pursue eviction for nonpayment of rent. Even after the Iowa moratorium ends, you may still be protected -- by a federal moratorium -- from eviction for nonpayment of rent. This protection will last through the end of July. Here is how you find out whether you are protected under the federal moratorium. You have to look up your address on these three websites: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/rentersresourcefinder https://myhome.freddiemac.com/renting/lookup.html www.nlihc.org/federal-moratoriums If the answer is "yes" on any 1 of these 3 websites, you are covered under the federal eviction moratorium.** You may also have access to some other services. **If your address doesn't show up on any of these lists, it's still possible that your property is covered. Sometimes typos or certain address variations ("St" instead of "Street," for example) may return the wrong result. Again, the federal eviction moratorium prevents evictions, but it does not release you from your agreement to pay rent. Under current policies, when the moratorium ends, you will be responsible for any rent owed or face possible eviction. If you cannot afford to pay your rent, here are a few options: 1. Talk to your landlord about a payment plan. 2. Contact United Way for direct assistance at 319-259-9218 3. Contact Johnson County Social Services General Assistance at 319-356-6090 4. Contact CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank for basic needs assistance at 319-351-0128 on Monday mornings between 9 and 11 am 5. If you have a Section 8 voucher or live in a project-based Section 8 building, report any changes to your income so that your rent can possibly be lowered. If you are receiving unemployment right now, the additional $600/wk stimulus money will not be counted as "income," and neither will a federal stimulus check you may have received Your household may have difficult decisions to make in the months ahead. This isn't legal advice or financial advice. If you need legal advice about your housing, call: Iowa Legal Aid 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday 1-800-332-0419 If you can, contact them as soon as you know you may be facing eviction or will be unable to pay your rent. We are expecting that a lot of people will need their services, and the wait time may grow as we get to closer the eviction moratorium deadlines. HOMEOWNERS Iowa is currently under a moratorium on foreclosures. This moratorium is predicted to end on May 27, 2020. The moratorium prevents foreclosure, but mortgage payments are still owed. Even if you do not pay your mortgage on time, you should not be charged late fees, per the governor's order. Once the foreclosure moratorium is lifted, mortgage lenders will be able to pursue foreclosure for nonpayment. Even after the Iowa moratorium ends, you may still be protected -- by a federal moratorium -- from foreclosure for nonpayment. This protection will last through the end of July. Here is how you find out whether you are protected under the federal moratorium. Look up your address on these two websites: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/ If you get a response saying that your address was found**, you may be eligible to delay making your monthly mortgage payments for a temporary period, during which:

  • You won’t incur late fees.

  • Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended

**If your address doesn't show up on either of these lists, it's still possible that your property is covered. Sometimes typos or certain address variations ("St" instead of "Street," for example) may return the wrong result. More info at: CARES Act and Mortgage Forbearance: What You Need to Know Again, the federal eviction moratorium prevents foreclosures, but it does not release you from your agreement to pay your mortgage. If you cannot afford to pay your mortgage, here are a few options: 1. Contact your mortgage servicer (the company where you send your monthly payments) as soon as possible to let them know about your current circumstances.The telephone number and mailing address of your mortgage servicer should be listed on your monthly mortgage statement 2. Contact United Way for direct assistance at 319-259-9218 3. Contact Johnson County Social Services General Assistance at 319-356-6090 4. Contact CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank for basic needs assistance at 319-351-0128 on Monday mornings between 9 and 11 am Your household may have difficult decisions to make in the months ahead. This isn't legal advice or financial advice. If you need legal advice about your housing, call: Iowa Legal Aid 1-800-332-0419 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday If you can, contact them as soon as you know you may be facing foreclosure or will be unable to pay your mortgage. We are expecting that a lot of people will need their services, and the wait time may grow as we get to closer the foreclosure moratorium deadlines.

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