Here to Help: Rent, mortgage assistance available to those affected by pandemic

MILWAUKEE -- Four months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are struggling to pay all of their bills.

"About a third of mortgage holders and 40% of renters are having some type of financial impact due to COVID-19," said Danielle McCoy, vice president and fair lending officer at Fannie Mae.

With folks unemployed or having hours reduced, McCoy said assistance is available for those who are unable to pay for their mortgage or rent. If you are in need of assistance, she recommends asking your landlord for a payment arrangement. But that's not the only option...

"See who finances your apartment building," McCoy said. "If your apartment building is financed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the federal government, and your owner is receiving some type of forbearance during this time period, they may not evict you due to non-payment of rent."

Fannie Mae "Here to Help" online portal for renters assistance

Fannie Mae's "Here to Help" online portal can help you determine if they are financing your apartment building and it provides other resources.

"We provide access to our disaster response network that provides free counseling by HUD-approved counselors," McCoy said.

If you are a homeowner, forbearance due to COVID-19 remains an option. If you already took one, there are a number of ways to pay it back.

"You can do a repayment plan, payment deferral which means they take all of your missed payments and put them at the end of the mortgage, or possible loan modification that might be good if for some reason you can't afford your monthly home payment anymore," said McCoy.

Extending forbearance another six months may also help you make it through these tough times. The Wisconsin Renal Assistance Program provides direct financial assistance for owed rent and security deposits.