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64 64 64 INVESTMENT GOVERNMENT PROPERTY PRESERVATION Journal HUD ASSISTED NEARLY TWO MILLION U.S. HOMEOWNERS DURING THE PANDEMIC e U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that, thanks to Federal Housing Administration (FHA) programs, nearly two million homeowners with FHA mortgages were able to stay in their homes from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 through December. During this time frame amid the pandemic, FHA borrowers whose ability to make their mort- gage payments was impaired by the pandemic were able to obtain either a COVID-19 forbearance or a more permanent solution, such as a loan modifica- tion that allowed them to avoid foreclosure. e FHA recently announced that its COVID-19 toolkit has been extended for at least the next 18 months to help all eligible bor- rowers who are struggling to avoid foreclosure, regardless of the reason for their hardship. "Although the pandemic has ended, the economic effects will remain a challenge for the foreseeable future," HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said. "ese impactful and effective foreclosure prevention tools will help struggling borrowers find the right option to help them get back on their feet and keep them in their homes. ese tools have been so successful already, which is why FHA worked to enhance them further and include more borrowers." Included in these new enhancements are up- dates that also increase the limit on the amount of interest-free arrearages that borrowers can pay at the end of their mortgage term to help max- imize the number of borrowers able to retain their homes despite higher interest rates. e mandatory effective date of the changes is April 30, 2023, but mortgage servicers may begin offering these options to borrowers immediately. In the last two years, FHA has helped approximately 1,845,000 mortgage holders enter into an agreement with their mortgage servicer to have their payments paused or reduced (for- bearance) due to the pandemic. HUD reports: • More than 1.8 million FHA borrowers received a forbearance due to a hardship created or exacerbated by COVID-19. • More than one million of these borrowers have received a plan to enable the borrower to remain in the home by lowering a monthly payment or participating in another home retention option. • Another 691,000 have cured or paid off their mortgage without need of a loss mitigation plan.

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