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SAN JOSE (KPIX) – The clock runs out on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act – CARES at the stroke of midnight, Friday. Now, nearly 30 million out-of-work Americans – thousands in the Bay Area — are scrambling to figure out pay for basic expenses as expanded, federal $600-a-week unemployment benefits expire.

“I’m going to have to eat less. And hopefully, I won’t have to use the food bank,” says Glenn Telega, an unemployed stagehand in the convention and concert industry. Telega says with the current ban on large-scale gatherings and lingering concerns about the coronavirus, he’s not sure when he’ll be allowed to return to work.

Telega says he’s reliant on the federal unemployment benefits to stay afloat financially.

“I think a lot of people in Washington are out of touch with the average, common American and the struggles we have,” he says.

The expanded federal benefits expired on July 31. Congress is at an impasse over plans to either extend the benefits or offer some other form of assistance to struggling workers. Republican lawmakers say they fear the benefits have become a disincentive for Americans to rejoin the workforce during a worsening outbreak of the coronavirus.

But without the benefits, many families fear they are heading for a financial cliff unable to get a roof over their heads or food on the table.

“Businesses are closing down – no work. Everyone is out of work. We need some kind of assistance,” says Keith Floresca who brought his family of four to the food bank in Campbell for the very first time.

The Second Harvest Food Bank says demand for their services and desperation are both on the rise. The non-profit says it is serving double the number of people since the pandemic began.

“So many of the calls to our Food Connection Hotline are from people who say, ‘I’ve never had to ask for help before. I don’t really know what to do. I don’t know where to go.’ People are just feeling really desperate,” says Leslie Bacho, Second Harvest Food Bank CEO.

News Source: cbslocal.com

Tags: benefits cares act coronavirus covid 19 edd unemployment workers

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Millions miss out on mortgage savings of $287 a month: study

Coronavirus pandemic creates Americas first female recession amid child care, unemployment woes The CDC Reports a Major Illness Outbreak in 34 States Tied to This Food Millions miss out on mortgage savings of $287 a month: study

The coronavirus financial crisis has made this a year of record-low mortgage rates, which are currently sitting below 3% for the average 30-year fixed-rate home loan.

Maybe you're saying, "Yeah, I know, I've heard about that. It's been all over the news."

If that's the case — and you're a homeowner with a mortgage — have you taken advantage? Today's low mortgage rates have made nearly 18 million mortgage holders good refinance candidates who could potentially save hundreds each month, according to a new report from mortgage data firm Black Knight.

Each new all-time low for rates means there are more old mortgages out there that are worth refinancing at lower interest, and chances are your existing loan is in that group.

As rates slide, opportunities open up © Provided by MoneyWise Andrii Yalanskyi / Shutterstock

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped last week to an average 2.99%, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which has been conducting weekly rate surveys since 1971. That's just a notch above the all-time low of 2.98, reached in mid-July.

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The current ultra-low rates give 17.8 million homeowners an incentive to refinance their higher-rate home loans and cut their monthly mortgage payments by an average $287, Black Knight said Monday.

Altogether, those mortgage holders could slash their interest costs by $5.1 billion a month, which Black Knight calls "a significant amount of potential economic stimulus" amid the COVID-19 recession.

You're considered a good candidate for a refi if you can shave at least three-quarters of a point — 0.75 — off your current 30-year mortgage rate. That means, for example, refinancing from a mortgage at 3.90% to a loan with a rate of 3.15% or better.

You also need to be current on your mortgage, which may be tricky for some borrowers during the pandemic. As U.S. unemployment has soared, millions of Americans have put their mortgage payments on hold by requesting forbearance from their lenders due to financial hardship.

Other important factors before you apply for a refinance mortgage: You'll need a credit score of 720 or higher, and you should have at least 20% equity in your home, Black Knight says.

Don't gamble on the possibility of even lower rates

Despite almost unbelievably low mortgage rates and their financial benefits for homeowners, refinancing has been running hot and cold. The most recent report from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed refi loan applications were down 0.4% during the week ending July 24.

"It is possible that many borrowers have already refinanced or are waiting for rates to go even lower," Joel Kan, the trade group's associate vice president of forecasting, said recently.

But mortgage rates are notoriously impossible to predict, and you could find yourself waiting for lower rates that never come. Interest rates have been falling as financial markets have been rattled by fears that both the U.S. economy and the coronavirus outbreak could get worse.

"Should significant, positive news surface on either of those fronts, mortgage rates would likely move higher, possibly quickly," says Matthew Speakman, an economist with Zillow.

So, experts say don't risk losing out on an attractive rate and hundreds of dollars in savings available right now. Research refinance offers from several lenders — and pounce when you find something that would work well for you. Different lenders can offer widely different mortgage rates, so shopping around is vital.

It also works well when the time comes to renew your homeowners insurance. You can easily go online, get several home insurance quotes, and find the policy offering the best coverage at the right price.

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