By Agatha So, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Policy, UnidosUS
In March, Congress passed the CARES Act, a crucial step in protecting the health and economic well-being of millions of Americans who have been hit hardest by the crisis. Included in the relief package were protections and relief programs for homeowners who have struggled to make mortgage payments after losing work or income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, access to these relief programs and protections has not been equitable, especially among Latino homeowners, who have disproportionately lost their jobs and incomes since the crisis began in March.
Data from the U.S. Census Pulse Surveys shows that, as of September 22, more than 16% of homeowners who had missed a mortgage payment were Hispanic, compared with 9.7% of U.S. homeowners overall and 7% of non-Hispanic White homeowners. Latinos are also reporting a higher likelihood of having to leave their homes due to foreclosure in the coming months. This disparity is significant because most Latino homeowners’ savings are invested in their homes and losing their homes to foreclosure would threaten their immediate and long-term economic security.
In response to these alarming trends within our community, UnidosUS has joined the COVID Help For Home Campaign—an effort led by a coalition of groups from the mortgage industry, federal agencies, national nonprofit advocacy groups, and housing counseling organizations—to ensure that our community understands that help is available and the ways in which homeowners struggling with their mortgage can get assistance.
UnidosUS is using tools and resources made available by the to first ensure that Latinos and other homeowners who are having trouble keeping up with their payments, but have not yet reached out for help, do so immediately. The second goal is to inform homeowners who are in a forbearance plan (a payment relief program) to fully understand their options for when the payment relief ends.
UnidosUS is encouraging our Affiliate Network, national partners, and allies to help get the word out. To get started, go to CovidHelpForHome.org and create an account to download the toolkit of messages, resources, and tools to help spread awareness to communities and neighborhoods across the country.
To learn more about available housing assistance, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.