ATLANTA — The clock is ticking on federal protections keeping families from being evicted. The moratorium expires in just two weeks.
That's why several organizations are working around the clock to help those families get the aid they need before they're evicted.
Christopher Mungin with Capital Link & Associates has been hammering away to welcome one of those Georgians into one of their mobile homes for free. The first one he plans to give out is located in Marietta, with a water stream in the backyard.
"The pad rent for this location is $425. We're going to pay that for the whole year so they'll have no pad rent and they'll officially have this home. They're not renting. They'll officially have this home," he said.
His group is doing this work in partnership with Hits 92.3 and the Asha Management Group.
"Right now this is our first home we're giving away but I can only imagine what they're going to feel when they walk into a home that they have nothing to [fix]," he said. "There'll be TVs, beds, refrigerator."
This initiative is called the #MobileHomeMiracle and Mungin says he hopes to help more families who are getting evicted. The hope is to help one family a month move into the flipped and furnished mobile homes.
"This is a time where we've been through enough and we all have to come together," he said. "It's not a color thing, it's not a monetary thing of who's the richest, who's the poorest. It's about us coming together as a nation and helping each other out. That's how we can rebuild from this."
He says that to rehab a home at a functional state can cost $16,000 - and that does not include the furniture. Mungin says they are not asking for monetary donations, but would love materials and volunteers.
"COVID took a toll on America if not the world," he said. "A lot of people in less than two weeks away won't have a roof over their head, won't have food to feed. The whole objective is to put somebody in this home who needs a second chance."
Some people, depending on the situation or jurisdiction, already are facing eviction, as shown in pictures tweeted out today by Congresswoman Nikema Williams.
"The Federal Eviction Moratorium protects tenants from a certain type of eviction strictly for nonpayment of rent," explained John Gainey with Atlanta Legal Aid. "Different counties and different courts have interpreted this in different ways but a lot of counties are moving forward with evictions for other lease violations or in some cases, when tenants hold over their lease, judges have interpreted that this isn't covered by the moratorium."
To volunteer, donate materials or nominate a family for one of the mobile homes, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-401-7862.
Staff Attorney John Gainey recommends you reach out to their organization if you seek legal assistance.
He advises calling the United Way at 2-1-1 for rental assistance.
"Right now there's still some time to make arrangements if you've had an eviction hearing where you're expecting to be put out," Gainey said. "Seeking legal assistance, speaking to a legal attorney is great."
He says the first thing people should be doing is checking online with their case or local court clerk to find out if their eviction has been scheduled for a hearing.
"In metro Atlanta what we've started to see is that cases that were stayed under the moratorium are already starting to be scheduled for hearings in July," he said.
He adds that if you're worried about your pet, you should check for non-profits in your area that specifically help with fostering and caring of pets of those facing homelessness, like Paws Between Homes.
As for families with children, he recommends the following:
"Reach out to schools and school social workers to see if there's any additional resources that could be provided or help with remote learning," he added.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says more than 325,000 homeowners nationwide with FHA-insured single-family mortgages are at least two payments behind and there is over 12,800 FHA- insured single-family mortgages in Georgia that are 90+ days delinquent and have not requested a forbearance and are at risk of losing their homes.
HUD has advice for homeowners:
- If you are struggling to make your mortgage payment on your FHA-insured mortgage because of COVID-19, help is available.
- Contact your mortgage servicer and request a COVID-19 forbearance. A forbearance is a reduction or pause in your mortgage payment.
- Your mortgage servicer is the entity to which you make your mortgage payments. Your mortgage servicer is the only entity that can provide you with a mortgage payment forbearance.
When working with your servicer, HUD says you should:
- State that you are having a financial hardship due to COVID-19.
- Request a COVID-19 forbearance for your mortgage payments.
- Ask your servicer to confirm the details of your agreement in writing.
- For help talking to your mortgage servicer or understanding your options, call (800) 569-4287 to contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in your area.