Many longtime Illinois homeowners have lost income during the COVID-19 crisis. They need immediate mortgage relief to keep their homes in this very uncertain time.

The Federal CARES Act requires mortgage forbearance for homeowners with federally-backed mortgages, which represent approximately 70% of borrowers nationally.


However, this leaves a significant number of homeowners unprotected. This could result in a wave of foreclosures that will devastate both families and the communities in which they live.


Rent relief is also critical to prevent widespread displacement for those affected by COVID-19. Uniform mortgage forbearance is a critical first step in this process. Small landlords and 2-4 unit owner-occupants will default if they cannot collect rent and are ineligible for mortgage relief. Mortgage forbearance will prevent foreclosure and save the essential units of affordable housing that these small landlords provide to renters.

While many states have made wide-reaching agreements with banks to provide uniform relief to all homeowners, Illinois has no such directive in place.


We are urging the Illinois state government to work with financial institutions to provide forbearance with the following mutually beneficial conditions:

  • Forbearance for 180 days, with the option to extend for an additional 180 days if needed

  • Affordable repayment plan options

  • NO lump sum or balloon repayments at the end of forbearance

  • NO additional interest and late fees during forbearance

  • NO negative reporting to credit agencies during forbearance

  • Banks must reach out to borrowers approximately 30 days before the initial forbearance period ends to discuss repayment options


Small, 2-4 unit buildings managed by local landlords and owner-occupants are an important source of affordable rental housing. They are also uniquely vulnerable during this public health crisis. Small landlords operate on very thin margins and they may not have access to the same relief programs that larger companies do, so lost rent income during the COVID-19 crisis could easily set them back on mortgage payments. At the same time, the units that owner-occupant landlords rent are a key source of naturally occurring affordable housing, and if they are forced to foreclose on their homes, we could lose those affordable units permanently.There have been many proposals for rent relief during the public health crisis, and that is important and much-needed aid. However, if we do not also protect homeowners by providing mortgage relief, we will lose small landlords and the affordable rental units that they provide. 

About Us:

Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS) works to promote affordable homeownership opportunities in and around Chicago through affordable lending, housing counseling and homeowner education, redevelopment, and strategic neighborhood engagement.

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Contact: Sarah Brune