Housing, Food & Transportation
This page will answer frequently asked questions related to housing and food assistance.
- What should I do if I’m having trouble paying my mortgage?
- Can my landlord evict me if I can’t pay my rent?
- Where can I find help with my rent and utilities?
- Can the energy company disconnect my power if I can’t pay my bill?
- What should I do if I have experienced housing discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Will the stimulus payment, or the extra unemployment payment of $600 per week, change my HUD assistance?
- Where can I find help if I am at risk of being homeless?
- Are you a landlord who needs assistance?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has assistance that may be helpful to you. Visit: hudexchange.info/program-support. For additional HUD resources to respond to COVID-19 challenges, visit: hud.gov/coronavirus.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and HUD have partnered to launch a mortgage and housing assistance website to help homeowners and renters during the COVID-19 pandemic: Mortgage and Housing Assistance during the Coronavirus National Emergency.
Currently, banks are required to offer flexibility to borrowers who are having trouble paying their mortgage as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. NDI has created a document that offers action steps to help you negotiate with your home mortgage lender.
Find help for your situation:
What should I do if I am having trouble making my FHA-insured mortgage payments?
If you are struggling to make your mortgage payment on your FHA-insured mortgage because of COVID-19, help is available, but you must take action.
Is there mortgage assistance for someone who has a FHA, VA or an USDA mortgage loan?
The CARES Act provides a mortgage payment forbearance option for all borrowers who, either directly or indirectly, suffer a financial hardship due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency.
No documentation is required to prove your hardship beyond your assertion that you are suffering from such a hardship. An initial forbearance period of up to 180 days may be approved upon a borrower’s request. However, if you can still make your mortgage payments, you should continue to do so.
Where can I learn about mortgage forbearance and my options?
CFPB has prepared short videos in English and Spanish regarding mortgage forbearance and options for repayment plans. The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for many Americans to maintain steady mortgage payments.
If you’re one of the millions of people who have placed your mortgage in forbearance since March 2020, it’s important to know:
- If you got forbearance under the CARES Act, you have the right to a 180-day extension
- You have options for repaying
Watch this video to learn the first five steps to asking for mortgage forbearance due to COVID-19.
On August 26, 2021, the Supreme Court rejected the Biden administration’s efforts to continue a moratorium on evictions. However, the federal government has distributed funds to state and local government to help individuals and families who are struggling to keep up with rent. Congress has appropriated over $40 billion to help individuals and families who are behind in rent because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, access to these funds have been very delayed by administrative challenges at the state and local level.
State and local governments may have set their own ban on evictions that may still be in effect. View state-by-state updates.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a website tool to help you find rental assistance programs in your state. In many local areas across the country, you may also find out more about rental assistance programs by calling 2-1-1.
Federal rental assistance allows coverage of rent, utilities and home energy costs.
Be aware that many local jurisdictions have been overwhelmed for requests for rental assistance and it may be difficult to reach someone who can help you. You may want to talk to a housing counselor. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a list of approved housing counseling agencies nationwide. These agencies can provide advice that is independent and be offered at little or no cost.
Protections for renters during COVID-19
There are resources and professionals who can help with your housing or financial situation, including nonprofit credit and housing counselors.
State and local programs are distributing billions of dollars in rental assistance to help renters stay housed during the pandemic. Rental assistance helps renters and landlords make ends meet. The Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB) has updated information regarding renter’s rights, protections and assistance. If you’re a renter having trouble paying your rent, utilities or other housing costs, help may be available. State and local programs are taking applications from renters and landlords to distribute money from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program in their own communities.
Find help with rent and utilities (in English and En Español)
Many utilities that sell electricity and gas around the United States are suspending disconnections of customers who do not pay their bills during the Coronavirus crisis, or are being ordered to suspend disconnections by regulators or other government officials. But this varies by state and locality.
Federal fair housing laws protect people from discrimination, including harassment and intimidation, in housing and related services on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability. Laws prohibit discrimination in nearly all housing transactions and residential settings across the nation, including rental housing, nursing homes, permanent shelters and other places where people live and receive services together.
According to HUD guidance, household economic impact payments (technically an advance payment of a tax credit that may be claimed on a 2020 tax return) provided by the CARES Act is not to be included in calculations of tenant income.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Find Shelter tool provides information about housing, shelter, health care and clothing resources in communities across the country. Specifically, users can search for facilities that provide shelter, clothing, health clinics and food pantries to those in need. Find Shelter provides mapping and contact information for these service providers and the site is optimized for mobile use.
State and local programs are distributing billions of dollars in rental assistance to help renters stay housed during the pandemic. Rental assistance helps renters and landlords make ends meet. If you’re a landlord trying to stay afloat with tenants in this situation – help may be available. State and local programs are taking applications from renters and landlords to distribute money from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program in their own communities.
If you’re a landlord, you may think of rental assistance as help for renters. But, right now, most federal emergency rental assistance programs accept applications from landlords. Where renters can apply, they often need your help to complete the process and make payments to you.
A food bank is a nonprofit that safely stores millions of pounds of food that is delivered to local food programs, like a food pantry. Food pantries can be either permanent locations or mobile distributions. Food pantries are a reliable source for free, healthy and nutritious food in a neighborhood, and they often provide other critical resources such as nutrition education, health screenings, seasonal food baskets and back to school supplies. A community food pantry’s mission is to directly serve local residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a specified area.
Before visiting your food bank or pantry location, contact them by phone and/or email to verify that their information is correct and receive any updates.
With the possibility of some schools remaining closed, parents opting for home schooling or schools possibly closing in the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children who rely on free or reduced-price meals at school may be able to continue to get meals that they would have normally received at school. USDA has put together a USDA Meals for Kids Site Finder. Families can use this tool to find directions to nearby sites, as well as hours of operation and contact information. Rules vary by location, but generally meals may be taken home and parents or guardians may pick up meals for their children if the state allows.
USDA also provides a National Hunger Hotline and can be reached Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) [Spanish].
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency. To get SNAP benefits, you must apply in the state in which you currently live and you must meet certain requirements, including resource and income limits, which are described on this page. SNAP income and resource limits are updated annually. There are special SNAP rules for households with elderly or disabled members.
On August 16, 2021 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, used to calculate SNAP benefits. As a result, the average SNAP benefit – excluding additional funds provided as part of pandemic relief – will increase for Fiscal Year 2022 beginning on Oct. 1, 2021.
The National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) recently created a Community Transportation Database. This resource allows users to find the nearest transportation provider, such as paratransit. To use the map, you can type your home address, zip code, or town into the search bar and then click on the providers in your area to learn more.
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The Financial Resilience Center was developed by National Disability Institute with generous funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation.