No one should be worried about losing their home during an epidemic. During this time of crisis, we are working hard to make sure Habitat homebuyers and partner families have access to resources and information. Knowing that many families and individuals will be facing unemployment for an extended period or needing their income for healthcare or emergencies, New Orleans Habitat is offering a 90-day deferral on mortgages for New Orleans Habitat homebuyers during this time of crisis. Click the button below to fill out our mortgage deferral form.
As we continue to evaluate the best ways to serve our community during the ongoing pandemic, NOAHH has made the difficult decision to pause intakes for our First-Time Homebuyer Program and A Brush With Kindness home repair program. Meeting the need for affordable housing remains our focus. Our construction team is still building and our Family Services department is still working hard to meet the needs of those currently in our programs. We look forward to reopening these services soon. Thank you.
If you have questions, please call our Family Services Department at 504-233-8681, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for a constantly updating document from our Family Services Department with other resources.
Text COVIDNOLA to 888777 to get updates from the city on COVID-19 and visit the NOLA Ready site for more information and resources directly from the city.
From healthcare concerns to unemployment insurance. If you have or know of resources to add to this list, email us here.
- Updates from Ochsner on COVID-19: information on Ochsner facilities and access and other coronavirus information.
- CDC: How to Protect Yourself: Wash your hands. Sanitize and disinfect. Stay at home if at all possible.
- CDC: If You Think You Are Sick: For more information on what you can do if you think you might have coronavirus.
- Updates on COVID-19 from the World Health Organization: Rolling updates on coronavirus news.
- Is It Flu or Coronavirus?: information from Ochsner.
- How Social Distancing Helps: information from Ochsner.
- Mental Health Resources from NOLA Ready.
- Online 12-Step Resources.
Income and Other Resources
- Go to habitatdeferral.org for your mortgage deferral! Click here to read the letter from our Executive Director about the program.
- The tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15.
- Small Grants for Hospitality Workers: from United Way of Southeast Louisiana.
- Unemployment Support from the Louisiana Workforce Commission: for those who have lost work, had reduced hours or reduced pay, or otherwise have had your jobs affected by COVID-19, you can use this form to apply for unemployment support. Click here for the Workforce Commission website.
- New Orleans Business Alliance Gig Worker Relief Fund: for our musicians, rideshare drivers, and other gig workers, this fund may be able to provide small grants for temporary financial relief.
- Resources for food and nutrition in New Orleans from NOLA Ready.
- Information about utilities in New Orleans from NOLA Ready.
- A community poll from the Central City Renaissance Alliance.
- Community resources from Dirty Coast.
- How to Identify a Census Taker: to avoid those who might be taking advantage during this time of heightened stress.
For Families With Children
- Schools in the New Orleans area offering lunches for children: free lunch programs for school children in the New Orleans area during coronavirus.
- Nutrition programs for families from NOLA Public Schools.
- Check out NORDC’s website for a list of summer offerings and preregistration online.
- Scholastic’s daily reading resources for kids learning from home.
- Tutors from Homework Louisiana every day, from 2 pm to midnight.
- Free subscriptions from education companies for those learning from home.
- Proposed daily schedule for parents with kids learning from home from Khan Academy.
- Resources from PBS: daily tips, 24/7 streaming site, and a parents’ page.
- Good Housekeeping’s list of DIY projects for kids.
- Recipes you can cook with your kids.
- A list of science experiments you can do at home with kids.
For Fun or Entertainment During Quarantine
- Georgia Aquarium Live Cam: a little light entertainment for those in quarantine.
- A Daily Activities Schedule for Kids: for those trying to figure out what to while your kids are home from school.
- Things Teenagers Can Do in Isolation: activities for your teenagers during quarantine.
- NPR: Virtual Concerts for Isolation: online live performances.
- Write mom a haiku for Mother’s Day (for kids).
- Have you ever wanted to say you’ve taken an Ivy League course? All eight of the schools making up the prestigious Ivy League – Harvard, Yale, Princeton , Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Dartmouth and Columbia — offer online classes to the public for free. You can also check out Coursera.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has several courses on its website designed to help beginners and established business owners. The topics include an overview of the legal requirements for small businesses and a section for young entrepreneurs.
- Would you like to brush up on your art skills? Check out the Kennedy Center’s YouTube channel at 12 p.m. (CDT) weekdays. Artist Mo Willems is offering live “lunch doodle” classes.
Enjoy a 10-minute Bounce ‘n Line instructional video from Nola’s own Dancing Grounds.
Missing concerts amid coronavirus? Check out these big-name artists sharing live music for free online.
Friend of Habitat Big Freedia Friday night free concert series kicks off tonight at 8pm on Facebook & Instagram!
Catch a digital drag show with some of the world’s most renown queens.
Culturalyst founder Sam Bowler recognized how detrimental the shutdown of music venues would be to artists, so he quickly got to work to create a new platform on Culturalyst to livestream artists’ performances and to tip them, creating a way for these artists to continue to make a living. Catch some great shows from your couch here.
- The Met, like many live performance venues, canceled upcoming shows because of the spread of the coronavirus. Earlier this week it began streaming for free encore presentations of its Live in HD series.
Get creative by joining in the fun at the Quarantine Art Club.
Whether it’s already a staple in your routine or you’ve been a long-time hater, now is the good time to invest in finding your inner zen. Tips on how to meditate: here.
- Stage a puppet show or create a treasure hunt for kids.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Deferral
I got an email/letter from Habitat about deferring my mortgage payments – is this a scam?
This is not a scam. New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity is pleased to offer this 90-day deferral opportunity for our homeowners. We understand that the coronavirus has left many people in a tight financial position and we want to support our homeowners in any way possible.
Do I have to make a payment for April?
As long as you submit the deferral request form, you will not be required to make a payment for April. The 90-day mortgage deferral takes effect on April 1st, so you are getting a break from paying your mortgage for April, May, and June. If you opt-in to the 90-day deferral, your next payment due date is July 1, 2020.
Do I have to pay back those 3 months in one lump sum?
No. If you opt-in to the 90 day deferral, those 3 months will be added to the end of the loan. For example, if your loan originally ended in January 2021, it would now end in April 2021.
I’m confused about this whole escrow part.
Your monthly house note can be divided into two main parts: the home loan and the escrow, which covers things like homeowners & flood insurance, property taxes, and termite contract. The 90-day deferral means that you have 3 months in which you can make ZERO payments.
The 3 months of loan payments will be tacked on to the end of the loan.
However, if you do not pay any escrow for those 3 months, you will be 3 months short when it is time for Fidelity to analyze your escrow balance to see if there’s enough to cover your insurances and taxes. So instead of letting your insurance lapse, Fidelity will front the money and then take that amount and spread it out over the following 12 months, added on to your normal monthly note. For example, if your monthly escrow is $200, and you don’t pay anything during the 90-day deferral, you will be $600 short. Fidelity will pay that, but then divide that $600 by 12, which equals $50, and add that $50 to your monthly note for the following 12 months.
If you have additional questions, please call Family Services at (504) 609-3345.
How do I make sure my payment will go towards escrow?
If you want to make a payment toward your escrow only, you must write “For Escrow Only” or “Escrow payment” on your check or money order. Escrow cannot be paid online; you must mail it to Fidelity or visit a drive-through Fidelity branch.
I don’t think I can pay anything toward my escrow. How much will my note increase after the escrow analysis?
This depends on many things, including your normal escrow amount and any increases in insurance premiums or property taxes. If any of these costs increase then the escrow part of your note will need to increase to cover those costs. If you do not pay three months of escrow, you will have a shortage of escrow funds to pay those costs. This shortage will be spread out over 12 months.
When will Fidelity conduct the escrow analysis to see if I’m behind?
Fidelity conducts an escrow analysis of every loan annually, based on the date of your loan closing. Any changes to your monthly note due to the escrow analysis will take effect 45 days later. If the annual analysis of your escrow is scheduled during April, May or June, it will still be analyzed, and any changes will take effect 45 days later. The timing of your escrow analysis has not changed.
Fidelity may conduct a special escrow analysis after the 90 day deferral period, but that is still to be determined.
Will Fidelity mail me a new monthly statement prior to July 1st?
Fidelity will continue to mail monthly statements showing the next payment due following the deferment.
What payment will I be making on July 1?
The payment due on July 1 will be indicated on your Fidelity monthly statement. If the annual escrow analysis is conducted during the 90 day deferral, there may be an adjustment to your monthly payment.
What if I missed my March 2020 payment?
The mortgage payment deferral is for the months of April 1st – June 1st, 2020. If you missed your March 2020 you are 30 days past due. If you don’t make your March 2020 payment prior to July 1, 2020 you will still be 30 days past due.
How will I know if Habitat got my form and the deferral request is approved?
You can call the Family Services Department at (504) 609-3345 to confirm that we have received your request form. All requests will be approved. Fidelity will receive the deferral information from Habitat and your monthly statement will show the advance due date, which will be the 1st payment following the deferment.
I have submitted the deferral request form – what’s the next step that I need to take?
The main thing you need to do is submit the deferral form. If you have filled out the form online you do not need to submit a paper form also. If you have auto-payments set up with Fidelity, you should cancel this feature during the deferral months. If possible, mail in escrow payments and note on the payment “for escrow only.”
What should I do if my mortgage payments automatically come out of my paycheck or bank account and go to Fidelity?
Be sure to suspend your normal payment if you are going to do the 90-day deferral. Fidelity cannot accept the escrow only payment online, so you will have to mail or drop off the payment. If a payment was drafted automatically, neither Fidelity nor Habitat can refund that money. Contact Fidelity at (800) 220-2497.
My income has not been impacted, can I still make my April payment if I have the money?
If you do not need to defer your mortgage payments, you do not need to submit the deferral form. Even if you submit the deferral form, you are still welcome to make your mortgage payment as usual if you would like to. If you would prefer to use the money you have to pay only your escrow, you are also welcome to do that.
My income has not been impacted, but I’m nervous that it may be eventually. Can I sign up for this deferral later if needed?
If you do not submit the deferral request form by April 10, but feel you may need the deferral later, please contact the Family Services Department at (504) 609-3345.
I don’t know my loan number. Where can I find it?
Your loan number can be found on your monthly Fidelity statement. It is 10 digits and begins with 300. If you don’t have a copy of your monthly statement, contact Fidelity at (800) 220-2497.
What is the difference between deferral and forgiveness?
Deferral is a postponement of payment. Forgiveness means the payments are wiped out for good. The 90-day deferral means that those three months of mortgage payments will be postponed to the end of the loan term.
Who can I talk to if I have questions? Is there a point person at Fidelity that people could speak with for questions about escrow specifics?
If you have questions about the loan deferral, you can contact the Habitat for Humanity Family Services Department at (504) 609-3345. If you have specific questions about your escrow, please contact LoanOperations@BankWithFidelity.com or (800) 220-2497 and indicate that you are a Habitat homeowner.