Government assistance appears to be averting any New England eviction crisis
Government intervention to head off spikes in evictions or home foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic appear to be paying off in parts of New England, according to experts interviewed on And Another Thing. Evictions have increased since the end of temporary moratoriums, but they have not reached pre-pandemic levels thanks to unemployment and rental relief programs.
“Before the pandemic, we were in an eviction crisis as it was, but we were really worried about it getting even worse,” said Jesse Guerrero, Research Manager of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, “since then eviction rates have stabilized due to all the state and federal assistance to renters and to landlords.”
Connecticut is having a similar experience.
“There wasn't this huge uptick in evictions as more as the moratorium ended, but we have seen them creep up a bit,” said Kiley Gosselin, Executive Director for Hartford based Partnership for Strong Communities.
Homeowners are cautioned to watch out for high interest loans, as pandemic relief runs out. However, a long-time watchdog of the mortgage industry does not expect any major crisis, thanks to how banks have handled loans that could not be paid on time during the pandemic.
In the mortgage crisis that began in 2007, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America founder Bruce Marks recalls lenders required borrowers to pay both missed payments and what was due each month, which most could not do.
Thanks to a system called forbearance, mortgage payments missed during the COVID-19 crisis add time to the loan and are due at the end.
“So, when someone goes back to work, their payment is going to be the same as before they were impacted by the pandemic. And that's a good thing. But there's still going to be a problem out there because one people have not made their mortgage payments for a significant period of time. And people's income has gone down in some instances,” warns Marks.
Correction: During this episode, guest Jesse Guerrero's organization was misidentified. Guerrero is with the Metropolitan Planning Council. The episode also included out-of-date data regarding overdue rent obligations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. According to the most recent number from the National Equity Atlas, 106,000 Massachusetts households and 59,000 Connecticut households are behind on rent payments