Dozens of modest means families will be able to stay on top of their mortgages, thanks to a group of eight financial institutions in Dane County partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Dane County.

To make homeownership possible for hundreds of families throughout Dane County, Habitat builds and sells homes to qualifying partner families. These homes are coupled with a low- to no-interest mortgage, which makes homeownership affordable.

“At Habitat, to raise money for big items – like large land purchases – we sometimes need to transfer mortgages to other local financial institutions so we’re able to have those funds upfront and are able to invest them into serving more Dane County families,” Habitat for Humanity of Dane County CEO Valerie Renk said. “The banks we’ve worked with keep the same payment schedules and nothing changes for the Habitat homeowners.”

As Habitat started to see firsthand how the coronavirus pandemic was financially impacting its partner families, it launched an emergency Family Relief Fund for families in Dane County.

Many Habitat families are working on the front lines of the pandemic – stocking store shelves to make sure the public has supplies, preparing and delivering food, working in child care, and even serving in the clinics and hospitals.

They are doing this while paying increased child care costs while schools remain closed. Other Habitat families are being adversely affected as their work hours are reduced or cut completely, leaving them with no income at all.

“We started the fund to offer mortgage relief for Habitat homeowners impacted by COVID-19 – giving families room in their budgets to make up for lost income due to the quarantine, health care costs and extra child care fees,” Renk said, “However, we didn’t know how to make it work for the mortgages that other financial institutions now owned.

“I sent quick emails out asking our partner banks if they would work with us to make this program a success and within a day, 100 percent responded saying, ‘Yes, we’re in. We want to help these families.’ They didn’t debate any costs or paperwork details, just wanted to start helping families as soon as possible. This has been a great testament to the strong and generous financial community that severs Dane County.”

Habitat participating loan holders – in order of Habitat loan portfolio size – include Monona State Bank, McFarland State Bank, Town Bank, Bank of Sun Prairie, Oregon Community Bank, Dane County Credit Union, BMO Harris and Summit Credit Union.

Anyone interested in donating to Habitat’s Family Relief Fund and helping a family make their mortgage payment should visit habitatdane.org/family-relief-fund.

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