Struggling With Finances Due to the Pandemic?

February 1st, 2021
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Are you struggling to pay your bills and rent? Britepaths and FECSoCo can help.

by Martha Borowski, AFC®, Financial Coach and Trainer

Since the start of the pandemic, the staff at Britepaths and the Financial Empowerment Center at South County (FECSoCo) have been hearing from many community members who are unable to buy food, basic living necessities and are falling behind on their rent.

If you are struggling financially or you know someone who is, below are a few action items you can take or pass along to those who may need assistance.

All states have “211” call centers that connect their residents to essential community resources. Dialing 211 will put you in touch with referral specialists who will refer you to resources in your area that can possibly assist you in obtaining food, rental, and utility assistance.  

If you did not receive your first stimulus check, you will most likely not receive the second stimulus check. However, you can still collect the stimulus monies you are entitled to by filing your 2020 Federal tax return and checking the “Recover Rebate Credit” (line 30) box on the 1040. 
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/recovery-rebate-credit

The CDC has extended the national eviction moratorium until March 31, 2021. However, your unpaid rent will still accumulate and your landlord may expect you to pay all unpaid rent once the eviction moratorium has been lifted or you may face eviction. Therefore, it is imperative for you to take steps now to work with your landlord.

  1. Keep your landlord informed of your financial situation that is preventing you from paying your full or partial rent
     
  2. Pay what you can
    - Keep copies of checks or money orders
    - Ask your landlord for receipt of payment received
    - Keep detailed records of how much you have paid and when
    - Keep records of how much you owe in back rent
     
  3. Seek rental financial assistance with your county and state by dialing 2-1-1
    - Fairfax County residents can call, 703-222-0880
    - Arlington County residents can call, 703-228-1300
    - City of Alexandria residents can call, 703-746-5700
     
  4. If no assistance is available to you, submit an “Eviction Declaration” form
    Declaration Form in English: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/pdf/322024_A_EvictionDeclare_508.pdf
    Declaration Form in Spanish: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/pdf/322024_B_EvictionDeclare_esp_508.pdf
     
  5. Create a re-payment plan with your landlord
    - Once the national moratorium on evictions has been lifted, you may be responsible to pay all unpaid rent in full so it is very important to set up a payment plan with landlord ahead of time
    - Get the agreed upon re-payment plan in writing from your landlord

We Can Help!

Contact the Financial Empowerment Center at South County for a free and confidential virtual meeting with a Financial Coach to assess your financial situation and options. Phone 703.704.6101, email info@FECSoCo.org or Click Here to schedule an appointment.

Britepaths and FECSoCo offers additional personal finance, job search and readiness, and small business counseling and workshops. Learn about all our virtual offerings at: https://britepaths.org/news/Virtual.

Can YOU Help?

If you are doing okay during the pandemic, please consider helping a neighbor who is struggling to stay in their home by sharing this article and by donating to Britepaths. Click Here

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