(Maryland DHCD) Community Services Connection Newsletter

COVID-19 Resources and Updates

DHCD will continue to update its COVID-19 resource page that can be found here.

The Poverty Solutions Team at DHCD will be hosting a webinar on May 29 at 1:00pm, to provide updates on foreclosure and mortgage relief, scams and fraud related to COVID-19, the status of tax sales, and resources on requesting assistance from lenders or creditors. This webinar will include presenters from DHCD's Maryland Mortgage Program, Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, OAG Consumer Affairs, and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.  

State and Regional Resources

COVID-19 Financial Relief Guide for Marylanders

This guide briefly describes COVID-19 related relief programs and consumer protections, with links to more information and resources. 

Updates and Resources from the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services
  • Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services (MVLS) will be hosting a webinar to discuss the basics of estate planning, free and low-cost legal services for estate planning, and how to create or update an estate plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow this link to join the webinar on May 28 at noon
  • Additionally, MVLS has created this guide for older adults to provide information including estate planning, how to spot scams and available resources in their area. 

National and Federal Resources

Updates and Resources from the Federal Housing Administration
  • The Federal Housing Administration, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Veteran Affairs, have created an Interagency COVID-19 Forbearance Fact Sheet for Servicers providing guidance to assist borrowers seeking forbearance on their mortgage loans that are insured or guaranteed by these Agencies. A separate Interagency COVID-19 Forbearance Fact Sheet for Consumers is also available. This fact sheet outlines the steps borrowers need to take to request forbearance for their FHA-insured or USDA- or VA-guaranteed mortgages due to the COVID-19 National Emergency.
  • This pre-recorded webinar provides a detailed overview of the loss mitigation policies available to Single Family borrowers, affected by COVID-19. 
  • FHA has announced a Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium Extension to June 30, 2020. This action extends a moratorium authorized by the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and continues to help minimize the pandemic's financial impact on individuals and families.
FHFA Announces Payment Deferral as New Repayment Option for Homeowners in COVID-19 Forbearance Plans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are making available a new payment deferral option. The payment deferral option allows borrowers, who are able to return to making their normal monthly mortgage payment, the ability to repay their missed payments at the time the home is sold, refinanced, or at maturity. Read more here

CFPB, FHFA & HUD Launch Joint Mortgage and Housing Assistance Website

To ensure homeowners and renters have the most up to date and accurate housing assistance information during the COVID-19 national emergency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched a new mortgage and housing assistance website.

New resources for tenants to learn about eviction protections

To help people who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic and can't pay rent, new tools let users look up apartment buildings where evictions are temporarily prohibited through the federal Cares Act. Under the Cares Act, renters living in a property with a government-backed mortgage are protected from eviction until July 25. Read more about these tools. 

NLIHC FAQs on Eligibility for Assistance Based on Immigration Status

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has passed several emergency measures that provide assistance to struggling individuals and families. However, some of these programs restrict eligibility based on immigration status and may have implications under the Department of Homeland Security's new public charge rule. The National Low Income Housing Coalition answer some frequently asked questions about immigrants' eligibility for these various programs in addition to implications for public charge determinations.

COVID-19 Online Learning Series from the National Alliance to End Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council have developed the COVID-19 Online Learning Series. This online course curriculum is designed to provide training and materials to aid in community responses to COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness, and can support broader CoC homeless response.

Community Partner Spotlight

Young Adults Continue to Receive Services and Realize Success in Washington County With Help from Dedicated Providers

The Young Adult Solutions Center, managed by Horizon Goodwill Industries and funded in part by the Homelessness Solutions Program, continues to provide critical services and case management support to youth experiencing or-at-risk of homelessness in Washington County, Maryland.  To date, all youth that have obtained permanent housing through services at the Young Adult Solution Center have remained housed. Staff are working with youth who have been laid off to determine their financial needs to pay rent and utilities with support from the State Homelessness Solutions Program. One youth (who is currently laid off) received his stimulus check and used it to pay his rent through June.
In spite of the increase in lay-offs and rising unemployment, several youth in the program have gained or maintained new employment during this time.  One youth was hired for a full-time competitive position, gaining a pay increase from a previous position, and another youth started a new job the week the crisis hit in Maryland and remains employed.  Both are doing well in their new positions.

Outreach Efforts of the Housing Initiative Partnership, Inc. Creating Significant Impact
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our local communities across Maryland, the Housing Initiative Partnership's (HIP) counselors, case managers and resident service coordinators continue to work remotely and take calls every day from clients and residents. A growing number of HIP's low-income multifamily tenants and rental counseling clients are reporting loss of hourly jobs and gig income as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis and social distancing restrictions.
In response to these challenges, HIP has established an Emergency Rent & Food Assistance Fund to address the evolving needs of tenants and clients who are particularly hard hit financially. During the month of March, HIP's program staff were able to place seven homeless families into safe and permanent apartments across Prince George's County. HIP also continues to check in on the residents living in the affordable multifamily properties that we manage or provide resident services programs to. HIP's Deputy Director, Stephanie Proestel, recruited a group of artsy teens who are creating a series of cheerful greeting cards to lift the spirits of the 78 seniors residing at Birchwood at Newton Green Apartments in Bladensburg. She then placed the colorful cards and messages of hope inside care packages left at their doors and filled with canned goods, cleaning supplies, word puzzles and other items to help them pass the time.