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Mortgage program can help ABQ homeowners

Elena Gonzales

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on individuals, families and businesses.

It caused a negative economic ripple effect that can be felt by all of us. We know, as a community, how critical it is for individuals and families not to lose their homes to foreclosure during times like these.

We all saw the thousands of homes lost here in our city and state after the Great Recession, and we cannot afford for that to happen again. It is a traumatic process that, in the worst-case scenario, can increase the number of homeless people in our community, putting further strain on limited social services.

Foreclosures also have negative impacts on neighborhoods; homes can remain vacant and become problem properties creating public safety issues and costing the city an exorbitant amount of money to maintain. When a foreclosure happens, everyone loses. According to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, the average foreclosure costs homeowners, neighbors, lenders and local governments $77,934. Lenders lose an average of 12% to 19% of the home’s value in foreclosure and spend about $50,000 in the process. The social and economic consequences of foreclosure can and must be avoided by proactively helping homeowners now.

There might be light at the end of the tunnel of this devastating pandemic, but there are still thousands of homeowners in our city and state who are unemployed or underemployed due to the economic strain that has been put on businesses due to closures and restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Many of these families have fallen behind on their mortgage payments and continue to struggle. It can be a tough and confusing journey to work with a mortgage servicer to negotiate a work-out plan to save one’s home.

Contrary to popular belief, a forbearance is not always the best solution for a homeowner, and it is better to avoid delinquency all together if possible. This is the reason we must come together as a city, state and community, to make emergency mortgage funds available to help families whose income has been negatively affected by COVID-19 to pay their mortgage payment in order to avoid delinquency and default.

Homewise has coordinated with the city of Albuquerque and additional partners across NM to raise funds and awareness of this critical issue.

This assistance is available to lower-income households in Albuquerque. Homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgage due to a loss of income because of the COVID-19 crisis can apply with Homewise for up to three months of payments ($,1200 maximum per month payment) to help them get caught up on their mortgage.

We believe this assistance could make the critical difference in keeping homeowners in their homes during these challenging times, making our future economic recovery that much faster and stronger!

We appreciate the city of Albuquerque’s leadership and collaborative spirit – together we can help the most vulnerable in our community weather this storm. Homewise created the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Fund to help the most financially vulnerable New Mexicans continue to make their mortgage payments and keep their homes.

Assistance is available to all New Mexico homeowners who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, and is not limited to customers of Homewise. The application process is simple and recipients can request up to three months of their mortgage payments be covered.

Homeowners can apply online at Homewise.org or by calling us at 505-243-6566.

The executive’s desk is a guest column providing advice, commentary or information about resources available to the business community in New Mexico. To submit a column for consideration, email gporter@abqjournal.com.

the executive’s desk


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