That is where Keep Your Home California
comes in, a free mortgage-assistance program, which is helping low and moderate income homeowners avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes.
Keep Your Home California was established under the U.S. Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund. As part of this federally funded program, California was allocated nearly $2 billion to help eligible low and moderate income homeowners avoid preventable foreclosures. Since the program’s inception in February 2011, Keep Your Home California has provided over $1.1 billion in assistance to more than 56,000 California households, each facing a serious financial hardship.
There are nearly 8,000 additional homeowners currently in process with Keep Your Home California, representing another $600 million in reserved financial assistance. Though not all of the 8,000 homeowners in process will ultimately qualify for assistance, the program is fast approaching the $2 billion mark. There is a limited amount of time to get the remaining funds to hard hit homeowners in your city.
Keep Your Home California has five programs, each designed to address different financial hardships that may affect an individual’s ability to pay their mortgage, to assist homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments. Qualifying homeowners can receive up to $100,000 to help them keep their homes. Here are some brief details on the other five programs:
- Principal Reduction Program: Homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than the current value of their home and/or have an unaffordable monthly payment may be eligible for as much as $100,000 in principal reduction. A homeowner could save hundreds of dollars every month on their mortgage payments. Participants in this program have seen their loan balance reduced by an average of $75,000, reducing their monthly payments by an average of almost 14 percent. Unaffordable and underwater mortgages are critical issues for homeowners and the local economy.
- Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program: Out-of-work homeowners who have received jobless benefits from the state Employment Development Department within the prior 30 days can receive as much as $3,000 per month for up to 18 months, or a total of $54,000. The program allows homeowners to focus on finding a job and not worry about their mortgage payment.
- Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program: Homeowners who are behind two months or more on their payments could receive as much as $54,000 to help them “catch up” on their past-due mortgage payments. Homeowners must have recovered from their financial hardship and be able to make their mortgage payments going forward in order to qualify for the program.
- Transition Assistance Program: Homeowners who have reached an agreement with their mortgage servicer for a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or short sale can receive up to $5,000 in relocation assistance. The program gives families a chance for a fresh start in a new residence with money for rent, utilities, moving costs or other expenses.
- Reverse Mortgage Assistance Pilot Program: Homeowners 62 years or older with a reverse mortgage may qualify for as much as $25,000 to reinstate their past-due property expenses (ie. property taxes and insurance) associated with their reverse mortgage. The reverse mortgage must be a Federal Housing Administration insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).
Regardless of the program, homeowners must have suffered a financial hardship and meet the County Income Limits
in order to qualify. The homeowner’s mortgage servicer, the company that collects the monthly payment, must also participate in the program. More than 240 mortgage servicers
, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, are enrolled in Keep Your Home California.
While the economy and even the housing market have improved in recent years, there is still a tremendous need for the program. Foreclosure and unemployment rates have come down, but they remain historically high across the state. And although property values are increasing in many areas, the recovery has not been even across the state, and several other areas are still suffering from significant negative equity. There are still many California homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments.
Homeowners seeking more information about any of the Keep Your Home California programs should call (888) 954-KEEP (5337) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Representatives can answer questions and take applications in virtually any language through a translation service and there is never a fee for any Keep Your Home California services.
Information is also available at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org
, including a twelve question Eligibility Calculator
, which will help homeowners determine which programs best fit their situation. A Spanish-language version of the website is also available at www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org