Mortgage relief offered for workers who lost jobs due to coronavirus closures

SEATTLE — Nikki and Derek Betz both lost their jobs in the restaurant industry.

Nikki Betz worked as the events coordinator at RockCreek Seafood and Spirits and FlintCreek Cattle Co in Seattle.

Her husband, Derek Betz, just started as the lead bartender at Brother Barrel in Lake City.

“My thoughts were, this is crazy this is happening. I’m trying to focus on this new job and get that going for us and this just kept tumbling, snowballing faster in the the inevitable, not working,” said Derek Betz.

Soon the couple found out they’d both be out of work.

"We both found out we were closing and going to be laid off," said Nikki Betz.

“I was terrified about insurance and our mortgage.”

The couple have a 1-year-old son and worried how they would pay their mortgage. They bought their house in Kenmore two years ago.

They called Home Street Bank. Homeowners with loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac were eligible to defer their mortgage payment. Home Street Bank offered them the same opportunity.

Nikki Betz said she answered some questions on the phone and then got a letter in the mail.

“The letter said they reviewed our file and we qualified for a 6-month deferment. We would not face any penalties, evictions, late fees up until 10/1/2020,” explained Nikki Betz.

She said they do have to pay the monthly escrow amount, which they can swing with unemployment.

Now they want other homeowners to know there is help.

“Call anyone who has a bill they’re going to send to you,” said Derek Betz, “Just see what they can offer. I would suggest saying COVID-19, you’re unemployed due to that.”

Soon after they got their mortgage deferred they found out Nikki's employer would continue their health insurance during the closure.

Now this family can worry less about their bills and make better use of the time at home.

“More family time than we could have ever imagined at this time in our life,” said Derek Betz.

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