Higher consumer costs and expired pandemic protections are putting more Minnesotans on the brink of losing their homes. Some regions are seeing higher foreclosure activity than others, renewing calls for those behind in payment to seek help.
According to data from this month’s Census Household Pulse Survey, 24% of Minnesota adults were at risk of being evicted or seized, up from 18% earlier this spring.
Janelle Bennett, program coordinator for Midwest Minnesota Communities Action in Grant County, said she’s seeing more pre-lockdown notices being sent to people the office follows up with.
“The ones I’ve had so far have been definitely linked to COVID, either losing their jobs or cutting their hours and just losing that income,” Bennett explained.
As the job market has rebounded, she said COVID disabilities are preventing some from getting their hours back. His domain is not the only one. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis recently reported nearly 10 Rural Minnesota Counties had foreclosure rates of at least 1%.
The Minnesota Homeownership Center said via its website that those behind can consult a network of nonprofits and community organizations with counselors who provide free advice.
Julie Gugin, president of the Center, said it was not surprising to see trends set in as the pandemic progressed. She noted that health care costs were rising for some people who had little or no paid leave, making it harder to be financially covered if they were forced to miss work.
“It’s a cascading effect that health crises, like we’re experiencing with COVID, can have lasting impacts on people’s ability to maintain their homes,” Gugin pointed out.
As for financial aid, she noted that larger counties can create their own aid programs as they get more federal aid to distribute, though that’s not always the case for smaller areas.
Gugin added that rural landowners can turn to statewide initiatives, such as the Home-Help MN COVID Relief Fund. The application deadline expires on June 17. Those who qualify can receive assistance if their hardship is COVID-related, but officials warned that what remains is unlikely to meet the demand seen across the state.
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