Millions of Americans unemployed days before April rent and mortgages are due

SEATTLE – Rent and mortgage payments for April are coming up, with plenty of Americans wondering how they’re going to keep up with the bills.

“I feel absolutely surreal all the time,” said Jake Harris, owner of the landscaping business Stone Soup Gardens. “I have a crew of six people. We have plenty of work to do but we can’t do any of it.”

Harris is a husband, a dad and an employer who owns a home and leases a property for his business.

“Mortgages are due. Rents are due across the city,” said Harris. “I’m worried about more people becoming homeless in our community as a result of this.”

Financial experts say housing and food are a priority.

Mortgage holders are advised to get in touch with their lenders to go over payment options. Some lenders have started special waivers because of Covid-19.

If you cannot come to a fair agreement, you could report the financial institution to the state Attorney General’s Office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Renters are advised to keep an open and honest dialogue with their landlords, and to keep in mind landlords have bills to pay as well. If rent is going to be an issue, try to come up with an agreement to pay part of the rent if that’s possible and pay the rest later.

“Put aside profits and lookout for people at this time as well,” said Harris, who is hoping the banks will step up first. “It’d be great if banks all did this together with all of us because we’re all going through this crisis together."

The American Bankers Association is keeping track of various steps institutions are taking in response to Covid-19.