September 23, 2021
The Honorable Marcia Fudge
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th St S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20410
The Honorable Denis McDonough
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20420
The Honorable Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250
Dear Secretaries Fudge, McDonough, and Vilsack:
On behalf of the clients and communities we represent, we urge HUD, VA, and USDA to extend the September 30, 2021 deadline for borrowers to start forbearance plans due to COVID-19 hardships. The agencies should not prematurely end access to forbearance as the Delta variant rages across the nation.
When the federal agencies announced their current deadline for accessing forbearance in June of 2021, COVID-19 case counts were very low. COVID-19 cases are now over ten times higher than they were in June without signs of slowing. The Labor Department’s August employment report also reflects a slowdown in job creation.
Given the current state of COVID-19 cases, HUD, VA, and USDA borrowers must continue to have access to forbearance to address pandemic-related hardships. Borrowers who face COVID 19 hardships now should not be in a worse position than those who faced hardship earlier in the pandemic.
Notably, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not imposing a September 30, 2021 deadline for borrowers to access COVID-19 forbearance. Instead, they allow borrowers to access twelve months of forbearance whenever they face COVID-19 hardships.
We urge HUD, USDA, and VA to respond to the current state of the pandemic and extend the deadline for borrowers to access initial forbearance plans beyond September 30, 2021.