BAY AREA (CBS SF) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Federal Housing Administration Wednesday to implement a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for certain single-family homeowners who may not be earning income during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The moratorium will protect single-family homeowners with an FHA-insured mortgage from eviction and foreclosure for 60 days. Some Bay Area jurisdictions have implemented similar moratoriums, but state officials have yet to announce full eviction and foreclosure protections for renters and homeowners.

“Today’s actions will allow households who have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet the challenges of (the coronavirus) without fear of losing their homes, and help steady market concerns,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said. “The health and safety of the American people is of the utmost importance to the department, and the halting of all foreclosure actions and evictions for the next 60 days will provide homeowners with some peace of mind during these trying times.”

Several Bay Area cities are in the process of putting a moratorium on evictions — some by emergency action, while others are running into red tape with the requirement to hold meetings to pass the ordinances at a time when people are being asked to stay home.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said this week the city will halt all evictions during a shelter-in-place order that applies to San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Marin counties and the city of Berkeley through at least April 7.

Officials in San Jose and Alameda County have also called for full eviction moratoriums as many residents are forced to remain indoors and are not able to work due to the virus’ spread.

“We need to make sure to stop these evictions so that more people aren’t displaced in the middle of this crisis,” said Oakland CIty Council President Rebecca Kaplan.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order giving the state’s cities and counties the authority to halt evictions through the end of May and potentially longer, but stopped short of a full ban.

The burden is still on cities to pass the ordinances halting evictions. Eight lawmakers, including state Senator Scott Weiner, also wrote a letter to Newsom urging him to make the moratorium statewide.

State officials have also enacted a moratorium on utility shutoffs for ratepayers who cannot afford their monthly bills due to lost wages. 

“This is an uncertain time for many Americans, particularly those who could experience a loss of income. As such, we want to provide FHA borrower households with some immediate relief given the current circumstances,” Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery said. “Our actions today make it clear where the priority needs to be.”

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