More action needed to protect homeowners from mortgage foreclosures
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued two executive orders this week to prevent residents from becoming homeless during the state of emergency. On Wednesday, she moved to extend the deadline to pay back taxes on real estate. On Friday, she prohibited evictions as well.
We at Michigan United applaud Gov. Whitmer for taking these important steps to protect public health in this critical moment. These are exactly the actions our members asked her to do earlier this week. Tens of thousands of Michiganders are out of work or have seen their hours cut as a result of the pandemic. No one should have to worry about becoming homeless due to the virus. We need to stand together in this time of crisis, and that means protecting working people who are facing a true economic crisis.
While the need to practice social distancing is crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19, the effect it has had on the economy has been devastating. Across the country, unemployment claims have spiked to 100 times their normal rate. Even the auto industry announced plant closures this week that will likely idle 150,000 nationwide, hitting Michigan hardest.
Gov. Whitmer has shown strong, proactive leadership throughout this emergency, in contrast to the federal government response, which has been muddled and dithering.
However, she still must address one more urgent issue: foreclosures resulting from defaulted mortgages.
Many workers will be in danger of falling behind on their mortgages come April 30. Unless urgent action is taken, we will face a foreclosure crisis that could dwarf the one we went through a decade ago.
We again thank Gov. Whitmer for protecting our community from evictions and tax foreclosures. We need her to finish the job and protect us from the banks as well. Extend the moratorium on tax foreclosures to mortgage foreclosures as well. Otherwise, we are likely to see one catastrophe followed by another.