WASHINGTON — Ever since the Congress passed a $2.2 trillion spending package to help stabilize the economy in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has tried to be a one-stop shop for Hawaii residents who could benefit from the deal.

On Sunday, Schatz released a new resource guide to help renters and homeowners stay in their homes and pay their mortgages.

He’s previously released guides on how residents can ensure they receive their direct payments from the federal government and those owning small businesses can receive loans to help cover payroll and other expenses during the crisis.

Senator Brian Schatz takes questions during his town hall meeting held at Washington Middle School.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has been updating his website with the latest information about accessing federal money and benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In a press release, Schatz pointed out that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act includes language that allows homeowners with government-guaranteed mortgages to defer payments on their loans for up to a year without any fees, penalties or interest.

The law also places a temporary moratorium on foreclosures until May 17 while the government continues to address the COVID-19 outbreak.

Renters, too, could be protected from evictions until July 26, 2020 if they live in properties with federally-backed loans or are participating in federal housing programs. Their landlords also are prohibited from charging any fees for unpaid rent.

“Lots of Hawai‘i residents are struggling to make their mortgage or their rent, and these programs can help tens of thousands of people who need it,” Schatz said in a statement. “Please call either your mortgage servicer, your landlord, or a housing counselor to see if you are eligible for either forbearance or protections against being evicted.”

He noted that nearly 60 percent of mortgages in Hawaii and throughout the country are backed by the federal government.

You can find all of Schatz’s guides to the coronavirus package here

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