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Affected by coronavirus? Here's what to do if you're worried about paying rent or mortgage

Federal government ordered mortgage companies to allow people to reduce or skip payments; TN Supreme Court halts eviction proceedings.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — April 1st may be a dreaded day for many. On top of the prepared jokes, rent and mortgage payments are due for many.

Previously, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled to halt eviction proceedings through at least the end of April. At the time of this article, neighboring states, Mississippi and Arkansas, have not enacted a similar order.

The federal government is ordering mortgage companies to allow people affected by the coronavirus pandemic, such as job and income loss, to either skip or reduce their payments.

That doesn't mean you just stop paying on your own. You must call your lender and inform them that you're having a financial hardship due to the pandemic to negotiate terms to being put on what's called a forbearance plan.

For renters, with landlords unwilling to work with you, the Shelby County Community Service Agency may be able to assist you with payments if you quality for their income-based program.

"The main point is to help people stay in their homes and the realization is that although they're not evicting people right now, the cost is still there. So the amount will continue to increase each month that they don't pay and with many people having lost employment, it's going to be important that we step in to help," Cherry Whitehead-Thompson, CSA Deputy Administrator, said.

CSA has a section on its website dedicated to the pandemic where you can determine if you qualify. 

The assistance is for individuals living at the 125% federal poverty guidelines in the last 30 days.

"If you lost your job last week, having to look at the last 30 days of income you may not be eligible financially, just yet, so you may want to wait a little bit longer before you apply," Whitehead-Thompson said.

CSA is only communicating with clients by phone and email. Call 901-222-4212 for assistance.

Community Services Agency

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