Only a few weeks left for the local COVID-19 mortgage assistance program

Time is running out for homeowners with mortgage arrears, directly as a result of the COVID crisis, to seek relief. Funds were made available in November to pay mortgage arrears, but these funds must be dispersed by December 31.

The grant is administered by the Credit Counseling Center and made possible by the Bucks County Department of Housing and Community Development, said Joan Reading, executive director of the counseling center.

Despite the deadline, it’s not the only program available aimed at helping people avoid foreclosure, Reading said.

But immediate action is needed to take advantage of the COVID-related subsidy. However, if a candidate is not eligible for this money, there are other options, the CCC director said.

“People lost their jobs long before COVID and found themselves in a financial dilemma,” Reading said.

There are deferment programs, whereby a lender might be willing to defer the outstanding mortgage until the end of the loan. But, Reading warned, this last payment comes at a cost as the full amount of each skipped payment will be due at that time.

This lump sum payment could amount to several thousand dollars.

Another option might be to take advantage of the advice center’s mortgage modification programs. Some people may also benefit from a seizure prevention program.

“We are in court once a month trying to prevent seizure,” Reading said.

This is not the first mortgage break related to COVID-19. The current deadline had been extended by the state. The program was originally scheduled to end on November 30.

The final word is that if a homeowner is in mortgage trouble, it’s imperative to call their lender or the credit counseling center immediately, Reading said.

Contact the center at 215-348-8003, or visit the website: www.creditcounselingcenter.org.

Report a correction by e-mail | Editorial standards and policies