Monday, December 7, 2020

Mortgage and rent relief program accepting applications today. Apply if you need it but don't assume that solves your problem.

Program provides up to 3 or 6 months assistance to residents in danger of eviction/foreclosure 
Metro Action taking applications starting today

Metro press release,12/3/2020 -  Beginning Monday, the Metropolitan Action Commission will begin accepting applications for a program designed to help homeowners and renters catch up on monthly payments. This program provides up to 3 or 6 months of Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance to residents in danger of eviction or foreclosure because they have or or will fall behind in rent or mortgage payments due to loss of income due to COVID-19. 

“This is an amazing opportunity for Metro Action to meet the needs of many Davidson County residents who are now facing eviction and foreclosure because they are behind multiple months in housing payments,” said Marvin D. Cox, Director of Family and Community Services. 

There are specific criteria to qualify for the program, such as the applicant is a resident of Davidson County, in good standing prior to March and not accepted into any other repayment program. The applicant’s household income must not exceed 80% Area Median Income which is: 

To apply for the recovery program, visit the Metro Action Commission located at 800 2nd Avenue North or to access the application online visit 

 For more information about the program call Metro Action at 615-862-8860 or e-mail Metro Action’s Rent and Mortgage Recovery Program is funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated funding to the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG-CV).

Rod's Comment:  I am pleased to see this program.  I would be more pleased if the mortgage assistance portion was being handled by an agency rather than Metro Action Commission.  I hope that MAC has improved their performance from the time when I worked as a housing counselor and hope the program works as intended.

I worked as a housing counselor for many years with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.  I worked mostly in the area of mortgage default counseling from the start of the housing crisis about  2007 up until my retirement about a year ago. During this time, especially the period of the start of the housing crisis until about 2012 or so there were several programs designed to help people avoid foreclosure. 

The worst of these programs was the assistance provided by the Metro Action Commission. People need more than just a check to catch up their house payment. They need education and advocacy.  They need an "action plan,' so once they get the one-time assistance they understand what to do to avoid getting in the same situation again. Sometimes people do things that make their situation worse. They need to know what to do and what not to do. 

Not only did MAC not provide the education clients needed, worse than that, they did not provide a check.  They provided a voucher. Often mortgage companies would get the voucher and not know what to do with it, or by the time they got the voucher the mortgage would even be further behind and the amount of the voucher would not cure the default and the mortgage would have already moved from default to active foreclosure. I knew people got the MAC assistance and yet still lost their home.

Maybe MAC has learned what they are doing and are now doing a better job, but it would kind of surprise me.  I would be much more comfortable that this program would work if if was being handled by Nashville's HUD-approved housing counseling agencies or an agency such as The Nashville Housing Fund. MAC can do a good job helping people catch up their utility bills and in helping renters.  Unless they have greatly improved, they are ill-equipped to help people avoid foreclosure. 

If you are an elected official reading this, please get involved to make sure that this mortgage assistance program is really working. If you want to talk, call me. 

If you are behind on your mortgage, by all means apply for the assistance from MAC, but be pro-active in dealing with your mortgage company.  Don't assume that being approved for assistance from MAC solves your problem.  I would also suggest you contact a local HUD-approved housing Counseling agency. 

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