How to handle mortgage, bill payments during government shutdown

Help Me Hank's survival guide helps people impacted by shutdown

DETROIT – Your home is probably your biggest financial investment and missing a payment can be scary. Some mortgage companies tack on big fees and penalties for something like that. So what can you do to protect your property?

Financial expert Tom Hakim says the first thing you need to do is contact your mortgage company and make it clear you’re a federal worker who needs assistance. Explain your specific financial need and ask what kind of help might be available.

The Federal Housing Administration is calling on all approved mortgage lenders to be "sensitive to the financial hardships experienced by borrowers as a result of the shutdown."

Wayne County's Rent Assistance and Homeless Prevention Program provides case management and grants to struggling households.

For that, call 313-388-9799.

US Bank is offering a new low-rate, quick loan product specifically for federal employees in need of financial assistance during the shutdown.

“Sometimes they can give you a break for about 60 days, give you a little time. Sometimes they will rewrite the mortgage because maybe your payment was a little too high," Hakim said.

What about your other bills?

DTE is ready to help. They’re encouraging you, if you are feeling the difficulty of the shutdown, to call them at 800-477-4747. Explain you’re a government worker affected by the shutdown, the financial need, and your address.

The same goes for Consumers Energy.

“We strongly encourage customers who face hardship due to this ongoing shutdown to contact us for payment arrangements," the company told Local 4. "We also encourage people to call 211, a free referral service statewide that connects people with nonprofit resources in their communities.”

Discover, Chase and Bank of America are also offering payment forgiveness and services for those in need during the shutdown.

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