Mortgage breaks for Irma victims

(WSVN) - Hurricane Irma is adding only even more stress when it comes to our monthly bills. But you may be able to get a break when it comes to your cable service and even your mortgage. That’s tonight’s edition of Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Irma stuck it to Manuel Salazar, first hitting his property, then his wallet, with a bill for the cleanup.

Manuel Salazar: “I’m guessing it’s somewhere 1500 to 2000 is what they are telling me.”

But even after Irma moved away, she still kept hitting him — because this baseball umpire can’t work.

Manuel Salazar: “It’s been eight, nine days since I worked.”

No money coming in, lots of money going out and a mortgage payment on the horizon.

Manuel Salazar: “So I obviously have to address that.”

But some mental and financial relief for Manuel — He does not have to make his mortgage payment.

Malloy Evans: “Taking a break from your mortgage payments for a while to help you stabalize.”

Malloy Evans is with Fannie Mae. He says contact your lender to get that mortgage break.

Malloy Evans: “It’s the call to the mortgage servicer that is really going to be the main point. And then they can immediately put you into this forbearance period that allows you to take a break from making your mortgage payments.”

You can delay making your mortgage payments for anywhere from three months to a year. Good news for people like Manuel.

Manuel Salazar: “It actually calmed me down a little bit and see there’s hope.”

Patrick Fraser: “Now Howard, is there anything you would tell people who are going to sign up to postpone their mortgage payments?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Make sure you read and understand everything they want you to sign, and if you don’t understand what they want you to sign, contact us.”

Patrick Fraser: “Howard, more questions from people who are dealing with the aftermath of Irma — Their phone bill and cable bill are about the same each month, they don’t have that service now, do they still have to pay for it?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Your service agreement with them says they can make you pay for services you are not receiving after a hurricane, but it is a terrible business decision. If they do that, contact us and let us know.”

Patrick Fraser: “Howard, Lynn Martinez told me about a friend of hers whose business is being hit really hard. I know FEMA gives grants to people who need help. Do they also help businesses?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes, FEMA and the small business administration do have low-interest loans and grants available for business that were hurt from Hurricane Irma.”

Patrick Fraser: “A quick question about electricity — People without power are fuming. Legally, is there anything they can do?

Howard Finkelstein: “No. They go grid by grid, and I know, it’s hard to be patient, but being patient is the only answer.”

Also, Howard answered about 30 other questions regarding your rights about trees, your job and your insurance.

The owner of Channel 7 has donated $100,000 and joined forces with an organization called Feeding South Florida to make sure victims of Irma get food, water, the essentials. If you made it through the storm OK and would like to help those who did not, here is the link to donate whatever you can.

Fannie Mae Hurricane Relief Page

Fannie Mae’s know your options with information on mortgage assistance available to homeowners

Hope hotline if you are having difficulty contacting your mortgage servicer: 1-888-995-HOPE (4673)

Mortgage Bankers Association to look up your mortgage servicer

For residents or business owners to get grants or loans:

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