Coronavirus: Housing & Utilities Assistance Information

In this time of emergency, U.S. Federal departments and agencies, and private mortgage holders have loosened payment rules and are offering forbearance, deferred payments, suspension of evictions, moratoriums on foreclosures. Also, many providers of utilities and internet/phone are also offering leniency at this time. Please see the below list to find detailed information.

  • Extended Stay Residents:
    • Families who have resided in motels and extended stay establishments for 90 consecutive days, and are no longer required to pay the hotel occupancy tax and other fees, have protections under the state landlord-tenant law. Week-to-week, and even day-to-day tenancies in long-term hotels are governed under Georgia Landlord-Tenant Law. These residents are considered “tenants” as opposed to “guests”. Once residency is established, motels cannot evict residents, even for nonpayment of rent, without following the proper judicial procedures. If the extended stay calls the police, tries to have you labeled a trespasser, or changes your locks, it may be liable for an illegal eviction. If you are a long-term resident at one of the Gwinnett extended stays, and are facing eviction or an illegal lockout, contact Gwinnett Legal Aid at 678-376-4545 for more information. Income and residency limits apply. For other housing resources and referrals, call 211 from any phone to be connected to United Way.
    • If you are residing in a motel and need financial assistance, please click HERE to fill out the “assistance form”. Assistance is contingent on funding availability.
    • PadSplit is currently taking applications for rooms throughout Metro Atlanta. Click HERE to find available housing options. 
  • Renters and Landlords:
    • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is announcing that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus; for more information click HERE
      • Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae released two separate property lookup tools to assist renters with finding out if they benefit from the CARES Act’s temporary eviction moratoria for multifamily properties with GSE-backed mortgages. Each tool allows renters to find out if the multifamily property where they reside has a Freddie Mac- or a Fannie Mae-backed mortgage to identify whether the property is covered by the CARES Act’s eviction protections. (These tools only cover multifamily properties, with five or more units and do not include those with one to four units.)
        • Click HERE for the Fannie Mae Property Lookup Tool
        • Click HERE for the Freddie Mac Property Lookup Tool
    • Eviction: The chief justice’s order declaring statewide judicial emergency presently extends through June 12, 2020
      • If you are behind on rent click HERE for information on evictions in Gwinnett County.
      • If you were served with a dispossession make sure you answer it so a hearing can be scheduled once the emergency order is lifted.
      • If you were served with an eviction notice ON or AFTER March 27th, contact your local court to ask, due to coronavirus, what their policy is at this time.
  • Homeowners:
    • If you are having trouble paying your mortgage click HERE to read this guide from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to learn about your options.  
    • Your mortgage servicer can provide you with information on whether your mortgage is backed by the federal government. if you can’t find it on your own. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who own or back close to 50% of the mortgages in the U.S., also provide online lookup tools you can use to see if either entity owns your loan. Click HERE and HERE to check.
    • The CARES Act puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:
      • A foreclosure moratorium, and a right to forbearance for homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency
        • Click HERE for more information, and contact your mortgage servicer directly to find out if your mortgage is backed by the Federal government.
    • If you don’t have a Federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options (like deferring mortgage payments) through your mortgage servicer or from your state. Click HERE to find out which banks are offering mortgage relief; and, as always, contact your mortgage servicer directly to find out if you qualify.
  • Utilities:
    • The City of Lawrenceville announces a $2M Lawrenceville Utility Customer Stabilization Plan, which includes multiple ways the City is offering assistance to utility customers. Click HERE for more information
    • Many utilities have implemented no-shutoff policies. If you need more specific information please contact your individual utility.
      • Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) AGL has suspended service disconnections for non-payment for seven days, effective for both residential and commercial customers. Further energy assistance options are available online. Southern Company Gas has instituted policies to allow most of their employees, including AGL, to work from home.
      • Electric Cities of Georgia Many of the 52 electric city utility members have incorporated temporary non-shutoff policies during the time of crisis. Moreover, most of the utilities have applied limited staffing requirements for the next two weeks.
      • Georgia EMC Many of the state’s 41 electric membership corporations (EMC) have offered temporary payment policies and alternative payment methods for customers during the crisis. Moreover, they are modifying business procedures based on Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and health care provider recommendations.
      • Georgia Power Georgia Power has temporarily suspended residential disconnections for the next 30 days, after which they will reevaluate the policy and time frame as the situation develops. Employees who can perform duties remotely began doing so on March 13 and will continue doing so until further notice. Plans and procedures have been implemented to ensure a continuation of operations and service.
      • Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia Many of the municipal gas systems in the state have implemented a 30-day pause on service shutoffs. There have been no interruptions to service and every system is operating as normal as possible. A couple of metro Atlanta municipal systems have implemented remote staging to respond to emergencies instead of operating from a central location.
  • Providers: Several providers have signed onto the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) “Keep Americans Connected” pledge, which reads as follows: Given the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on American society, [[Company Name]] pledges for the next 60 days to: (1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; (2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and (3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
    • AT&T AT&T signed the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge. For the next 60 days, AT&T will not terminate service of any wireless, home phone, or broadband residential or small business customer due to their inability to pay their bill related to disruptions caused by the pandemic. They will also waive any late payment fees for those customers and will keep public Wi-Fi hotspots open for any American who needs them. Moreover, all consumer home internet wireline customers and fixed wireless internet customers can use unlimited internet data. AT&T will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the “Access from AT&T” program. Lastly, AT&T is underwriting expenses for a “one-stop” resource center to support eLearning Days from the State Educational Technology Directors Association available to all educators in schools to help them handle school closures and the increase in virtual learning due to COVID-19.
    • Charter Communications Charter Communications has taken the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge. Additionally, Charter is providing free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for those who are not already customers to K-12 and college students for the next 60 days. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
    • Comcast Comcast has taken the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge. They have offered low-income Internet Essentials’ customers two months of free internet, in addition to raising the speed of that program’s service to 25/3 Megabits per second. Moreover, Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the county will be available for free to anyone who needs them, including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. Data plans have been paused for 60 days, giving customers unlimited data for no additional charge and there will be no disconnections or late fees if customers contact the company and let them know they are unable to pay their bills during the 60-day period. More information and updates can be found HERE
    • Cox Communications Cox Communications has taken the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge. Through May 15, Cox Communications is offering a $19.99 package for new Starter Internet customers to help low-income customers and those impacted from coronavirus challenges, such as seniors and college students. Moreover, the company is eliminating data usage overages. Lastly, the company is offering the first month free to new customers of Connect2Compete, which is Cox’s low-cost internet product for families with school aged children who are enrolled in low-income assistance programs to ensure digital equity for students without internet at home. Schools are being asked to contact with a list of eligible low-income students that currently do not have an internet connection.
    • Georgia Telecommunications Association Several members have signed the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge and are suspending shutoffs and late fees for one months, after which policies will be reassessed. Several companies are continuing internet installations and internet outage service repairs, in addition to waiving all internet installation fees and working with school districts to open Wi-Fi hotspots. One member company is providing internet and a Wi-Fi modem for free for 60 days to new customers who are low-income or have families with children and college students. These policies are aggregated based on what many companies are doing, but every company is implementing some type of arrangement to ease the effect of the coronavirus and maintain internet access for all.
    • Verizon Verizon has signed the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge and has implemented several policies, including waiving late fees for residential or small business customers incurred because of economic circumstances related to the coronavirus. Additionally, Verizon will not terminate service to any residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. More information can be found at: Click HERE and HERE

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