Friday, October 22, 2021


Some states entice people back to the workplace by increasing safety standards and higher minimum wage; Bannon held in Contempt of Congress; and the latest cyber security concerns.


House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress; Trump announces new social media platform TRUTH Social; and the Biden administration says it will continue to expel migrants under Title 42.


An all-Black Oklahoma town joins big cities in seeking reparations; a Kentucky vaccination skeptic does a 180; telehealth proves invaluable during pandemic; and spooky destinations lure tourists at Halloween.

As Jobless Benefits Expire, MN Foreclosure-Prevention Efforts Expand


Thursday, September 9, 2021   

MINNEAPOLIS -- State officials said nearly 100,000 Minnesotans now are without extra unemployment benefits provided by the federal government during the crisis, and a housing group argued it should prompt struggling homeowners to seek help as new assistance efforts take shape.

The enhanced federal aid expired this month, but the Minnesota Homeownership Center said there is a new program, which aims to protect Hennepin County residents behind on their mortgage payments because of the pandemic. They can connect with advisers and possibly qualify for cash assistance.

Julie Gugin, president of the Center, said a wave of foreclosures would be devastating as the state continues to navigate the crisis.

"We know that foreclosures can be detrimental, not just to homeowners, but to communities at large," Gugin asserted. "We learned that during the Great Recession."

The center is working with the county to administer the Hennepin Homeownership Preservation Program, funded by federal relief grants.

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency estimates nearly 70,000 Minnesotans are behind on their monthly payments. The agency is in the process of crafting a similar program that will benefit residents across the state.

Jennifer Ho, Minnesota's housing commissioner, said the statewide plan they are developing is also funded through COVID relief money. She noted for good reason, there has been a lot of focus on helping renters during the pandemic, but she added there must also be a cushion for homeowners in crisis.

"We know if you're a homeowner that's behind, that is hugely stressful," Ho acknowledged. "And we know that homeowners who are behind are also disproportionately Black households who are six times more likely to be behind just because of the COVID and everything else has made it tougher on them."

Ho pointed out they are waiting for approval from federal officials before launching the statewide program.

Gugin emphasized either initiative can help struggling homeowners figure out their next move with federal forbearance protections, which banks have used to allow households to pause payments, no longer in place.

She explained the Hennepin County program isn't just designed to fix an immediate crisis.

"Consumers who participate in this program must work towards a sustainable solution," Gugin stressed. "Which essentially means working with an adviser to figure out how best to balance their budget and take a close look at the affordability of their home."

Participants who meet income requirements can receive up to $35,000 dollars.

Disclosure: Minnesota Homeownership Center contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Housing/Homelessness, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
California has collected more than 600 tons of unwanted prescription drugs since the Take-Back Day program began in 2010. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)

Health and Wellness

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out …

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE - This month marks the four-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, and an art project aims to help incarcerated survivors heal by telling …

Social Issues

OGDEN, Utah - Utah is one of only a handful of states that taxes food, but one state legislator says taxing groceries should become a thing of the …

In a new poll, 71% of all registered voters support strengthening rules to reduce oil and gas methane pollution, including 73% of Independents and 50% of Republicans. (Adobe Stock)


CASPER, Wyo. - A strong majority of voters across party lines say they want national rules similar to those passed in Wyoming to reduce methane …

Health and Wellness

ARLINGTON, Va. - Although COVID-19 rates have gone down, the virus continues to hit the Hispanic community especially hard. Now, a new campaign aims …

Child-care advocates say if North Dakota doesn't boost funding for the system, more families might pull out of the workforce because of access issues. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. - A portion of American Rescue Plan funding sent to North Dakota has yet to be divvied up. Groups that want to improve the child-care …

Social Issues

PITTSBURGH - As businesses across the country deal with a massive labor shortage, Pennsylvania aims to entice people back to the workplace by …


ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that mandates monitoring the state's drinking water for "emerging …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021