Now in its fifth week, an estimated 800,000 government employees have been caught in the political crossfire of the government shutdown. Roughly 380,000 federal workers have been furloughed and 420,000 are working without pay. Many of these individuals, who are now facing an extremely stressful financial situation due to the lack of income, were already in a difficult financial situation prior to the shutdown.
Housing advocates are urging that it is only fair that the foreclosure process is shut down while the federal government remains on a partial shutdown. In fact, 15 organizations across the U.S. are now asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pause all foreclosure proceedings during the shutdown for its home loans where borrowers are behind.
This request was made this week in a letter submitted to the USDA. The USDA operates a home loan program that focuses on rural home ownership.
The USDA lending program offers options for borrowers who fall behind in their mortgage payments in an effort to avoid foreclosure. However, one of these alternatives is a servicing center that has now stopped operating during the shutdown, thus leaving these homeowners in a major bind. Without the assistance and no end in sight, these homeowners are facing the possibility of foreclosure.
In response, the advocates who have reached out to the USDA believe that a stay on foreclosure is completely justified. However, until now, the USDA has not made any public statements regarding foreclosures during the shutdown, so it is hard to say how they will respond to this most recent request.
It is estimated that there are approximately one million individuals participating in the USDA direct home loan program, as well as another million enrolled in its insured loan program. These individuals are being hit hard during the shutdown, especially those employed by the federal government. If they were in the process of a foreclosure and working with one of these now closed servicing centers, these individuals are left without any other resources.
According to CoreLogic, approximately 4.1 percent of all mortgages are considered at least 30 days past due on their payments or are in foreclosure. However, foreclosures are said to be down at this point, although they still present a problem for many Floridians as delinquent payments on mortgages are on the rise.
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