California hit with 1 million unemployment claims amid pandemic

Yahoo reports California Governor Gavin Newsom announced during a live-streamed press conference Wednesday that since Mar. 13, 1 million California residents have made unemployments claims.

To relieve residents during this time, Newsom announced that 200 banks, including state-chartered banks, credit unions and four of the five largest nationwide banks Wells Fargo, Us Bank, Citi and JP Morgan Chase have committed to a 90-day waiver on foreclosures and mortgage payments for people impacted by COVID-19.

LA Times reports several major banks and financial institutions have agreed to delay foreclosures and provide mortgage relief to California homeowners who are struggling to make their monthly payments due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.

The assistance comes as more than 1 million Californians have applied for unemployment benefits this month due to layoffs or reduced hours amid the pandemic, Newsom said.

Eligible homeowners would be able to defer mortgage payments for at least three months and perhaps longer if they suffer hardship due to the pandemic. Any late payments would not be reported to credit agencies.

Along with the mortgage assistance, Newsom is urging banks and other lenders to provide financial relief to small businesses and student loan recipients “in the days and weeks to follow,” according to a recent email sent to financial institutions by state Department of Business Oversight Commissioner Manuel P. Alvarez.

“As we continue the battle on the public health front, we must also brace ourselves for a financial crisis that is only beginning,” Alvarez said in the email. “Now is the time for all institutions, public and private, to do our part in staving off a tsunami of financial harm barreling toward California consumers.”

The governor’s announcement on Wednesday comes a week after he ordered all California residents to stay at home to help stem the spread of the virus, with limited exceptions for essential workers including doctors, nurses, grocery store employees and truckers. Residents are permitted to leave the house for necessities, such as trips to supermarkets and to see the doctor, and to go outside for recreation, but are urged to keep a safe distance from others.

Thousands of Californians have lost their jobs or have seen their working hours dramatically reduced, particularly in the hospitality and service industry.

Millions of Californians were already struggling to make mortgage and rent payments in a state where housing prices and rent payments have skyrocketed in recent years, putting them a risk of losing their homes due to a sudden loss of income.