Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Keep Your Home In California

Sometimes change is good. And for many cash-strapped homeowners, our changes could make it a lot easier to keep your home.

Keep Your Home California has expanded some key eligibility criteria for the federally funded mortgage assistance program.
A couple of highlights include removing the cash-out restriction from all four programs and allowing homeowners who own additional properties to be eligible for Keep Your Home California. And out-of-work homeowners now can receive as much as $3,000 per month for a total of nine months, rather than the previous six-month limit, in the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, easily the most used of the four programs.

CalHFA Executive Director Claudia Cappio says officials are “continuously evaluating our experience … and making adjustments like these based on the initial results” of the program, a $2 billion effort established under the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund to help low- and moderate-income homeowners who are delinquent or facing imminent default on their mortgage.
Here are the changes, with more details available at
  •  Remove the so-called “cash-out” restriction from all four programs.
    Homeowners were previously not eligible for the Principal Reduction Program if they had completed a cash-out refinance of their home. Eligible homeowners can receive as much as $100,000 under this program that requires a dollar-per-dollar match from the mortgage servicer.
  • Allow homeowners who own additional properties to qualify for the programs.
    Lifting the policy helps address situations where homeowners were additional signers on a home for a relative.
  • Increase unemployment assistance from six months to nine months.
    Jobless homeowners can receive as much as $3,000 per month for up to nine months to cover mortgage, tax and insurance payments through the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program. However, homeowners must be receiving benefits from the Employment Development Department. (By the way, if you were previously approved for the program when the limit was six months, you must call the counseling center to determine if you are eligible for the three-month extension.)
  • Increase the maximum funds from $15,000 to $20,000 to catch up on their past-due mortgage payments.
    The Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program allows homeowners who have faced a financial hardship to reinstate their past-due mortgage loans.
Of course, your mortgage servicer – basically the company that collects the monthly payments – must be participating in Keep Your Home California. More than 50 mortgage servicers have joined the program, covering about 90% of the mortgages in the state. For a list of servicers and the programs they participate in, visit

"Keep Your Home California"

Keep Your Home California has four programs, with each outlined on or on  their Spanish-language site You can also call the counseling center 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

More than 11,000 homeowners have already benefited or are in the process to receive funds from the state-run program, which was fully implemented in February. There are funds to help about 90,000 more struggling homeowners, so contact Keep Your Home California to find out if you could be next.

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