Rep. Axne Introduces Legislation to Help Keep Iowans in Their Homes During Coronavirus Outbreak

March 23, 2020
Press Release
Bill would increase funding to housing counseling to help with mortgage modifications, rental advice, and preventing foreclosures or evictions

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) introduced the Coronavirus Housing Counseling Support Act to expand Americans’ access to housing advice to navigate the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The bill authorizes an additional $700 million for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsored housing counseling agencies, which provide advice for Iowans who need help with housing costs.

Counselors provided through these agencies can help families navigate issues with rent, avoiding default or foreclosure, reverse mortgages, and credit, as well as longer term advice for anyone looking to buy a home.

“I’ve heard from numerous Iowans who are worried about keeping up with their rent or mortgage as this coronavirus outbreak squeezes Iowa’s economy,” said Rep. Axne. “This legislation will help families lower their costs and stay in their homes through improved access to the advice of housing counselors.”

Last week, after Rep. Axne called on federal housing agencies to halt foreclosures on federally backed properties, both HUD and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced they were suspending all foreclosures and evictions at properties they oversee.

In addition, any mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are now eligible for forbearance on their loans.

“I applaud these important steps by our federal housing officials, but additional help is needed to protect Iowa renters and homeowners in these trying times,” Rep. Axne continued. “Housing counselors will help folks get the help they need with navigating complicated processes and paperwork.”

Iowans looking for housing counseling assistance should visit https://www.hud.gov/i_want_to/talk_to_a_housing_counselor to find their local housing counseling agency.