Because two programs are often better than one

Sometimes doubling up is a very good thing. Just ask some hard-hit homeowners who applied for one of Keep Your Home California’s four programs and were later approved for a second program.

Yep, doubling up on programs is possible – and even encouraged.

Now, before you begin clicking on each program and start dreaming of a large payout, we will remind you the maximum assistance per household is $50,000. Plus, there are other factors to consider, including household income and your servicer must participate in both programs.

Ten lenders are enrolled in all four programs – and 20 participate in three programs, including Bank of America, Quicken Loans and U.S. Bank. So, almost half of the current 65 servicers participate in at least three programs, making eligibility for multiple programs a real possibility (check the list of participating servicers www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating.htm).

Homeowners often ask about being approved for two programs, especially on our Facebook page (“Like” us at facebook.com/keepyourhomecalifornia and you will see). Now, each homeowner is different, from their household income to loan-to-value ratio, but more and more homeowners are taking advantage of layering more than one Keep Your Home California program.

In fact, the programs are designed to work together.

The Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program, which offers as much as $20,000 for homeowners to catch up on payments, can follow the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program. Under the unemployment program, out-of-work homeowners collecting state Employment Development Department benefits can receive as much as $3,000 per month for up to nine months – or a maximum of $27,000.

If you do the math, you will see the combined maximum assistance under the two programs is $47,000, which would qualify under the $50,000 limit.

And the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program can follow the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance and the Principal Reduction programs, which offers as much as $100,000 in assistance, with a limit of $50,000 from Keep Your Home California. The unemployment program can follow the other two programs because you never know when someone might lose their job.

Finally, the Transition Assistance Program, which offers homeowners as much as $5,000 to relocate with an approved short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, can follow any of the three programs, as long as the homeowner has not surpassed the $50,000 limit.

If you would like more information about Keep Your Home California, check www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org (or www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org in Spanish) or call 888-954-5337 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.


We want to connect, help jobless homeowners with mortgage payments

Keep Your Home California’s counseling center has been busier than normal in recent weeks, following an aggressive effort to connect with more than 1 million out-of-work residents receiving jobless benefits from the state Employment Development Department.

A flyer detailing the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program has reached about 1.1 million jobless residents, encouraging those who own homes to call and learn more about the state-run program.

The program offers as much as $3,000 per month for up to nine months – or $27,000 total – to help financially strapped homeowners with their mortgage payments, giving them the chance to focus on finding work. With the bad economy and the difficult job market, it’s our most popular program.

So far, about 12,000 out-of-work homeowners receiving jobless benefits have called the counseling center in connection to the EDD flyer, but there are many more who could be helped. If you’re aware of a jobless homeowner who could benefit from Keep Your Home California, please let them know about the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (click here for more information http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/uma.htm.)

Sure, the program has eligibility requirements, including income limits and your mortgage servicer must participate in Keep Your Home California, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. You can check income limits at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/files/income.pdf and the list of participating servicers at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating.htm. By the way, all 65 servicers participating in Keep Your Home California are enrolled in the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program.

Of course, with the EDD flyer hitting mailboxes in recent weeks, calls have greatly increased at the counseling center. We’ve increased staffing to accommodate the calls and ease the wait, but as you can imagine, there are many Californians seeking help from the program. We would appreciate your patience, and remember that we’re open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The best days to call are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, when the counseling center receives fewer calls.

If you would like more information about Keep Your Home California, check http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/ (or http://www.conservatucasacalifornia.org/ in Spanish) or call 888-954-5337.

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Homeowners detail how the program has helped save their homes

San Diego homeowner David S. is like many Californians – a hardworking, longtime professional who has struggled during the worst economy since the Great Depression.

David’s job was eliminated and he joined the ranks of the more than 2 million Californians out of work. But David, who received state jobless benefits, was determined to keep his home.

He applied for a loan modification with his mortgage servicer, but had no luck. He made larger-than-required mortgage payments for a few months to show his commitment to keeping his home. And during the most difficult months financially, he made at least half the mortgage payment in an effort to avoid foreclosure.

Then, David – like thousands of out-of-work homeowners – came across Keep Your Home California, the state-run program that offers mortgage assistance to hard-hit homeowners. The federally funded program made David’s mortgage payments for several months, giving him the chance to look for work and worry much less about his housing situation.

“It’s a horrible … terrible feeling” to face the possibility of losing your home, says David, who has benefited from the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program that offers as much as $3,000 per month for nine months. “Time is what this program has given me.”

Unfortunately, David’s story is not unique. Many homeowners in the Golden State are battling a dismal economy and a far-from-rosy employment outlook, and time is ticking.

Keep Your Home California can help homeowners with thousands of dollars in mortgage assistance – as much as $100,000 under the Principal Reduction Program. Now, some homeowners are a bit skeptical about the program, and we understand why.

A free program to help homeowners? What’s the catch? Well, there are a few, including the fact that your mortgage servicer must participate in the program and you must meet the income requirements, but it’s not nearly as complicated to qualify as many may think.

But instead of taking our word for it, we’ve asked a handful of homeowners to share their stories about Keep Your Home California. A couple even detail some tips to make the application process easier. So, read the profiles at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/success.htm.

We’ll add more success stories in the coming weeks and months, sharing how homeowners fought back with some help from Keep Your Home California.

Of course, there are homeowners who apply for the program and are turned down for numerous reasons. But we’ve helped more than 10,000 homeowners during the first year of the program.

We know it’s a difficult time for many homeowners, but we hope that these stories from others who also are struggling will encourage you to apply for Keep Your Home California.

If you would like more information about Keep Your Home California, check www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org  (or www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org in Spanish) or call 888-954-5337 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.


Expanded eligibility allows more homeowners to qualify for thousands of dollars in mortgage assistance

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.

Keep Your Home California

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 www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org:

  •  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 (read this earlier blog for more information) – 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 www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org/participating.htm.

Keep Your Home California has four programs, with each outlined on www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org or on  our Spanish-language site www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org. 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.


Get Back on Track with Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program

Keep Your Home California

Note: This is the second blog in a four-week series that details the four programs available from Keep Your Home California.

Life has many twists and turns, and sometimes circumstances can throw a rather wicked curve.

Take the current economy and employment situation, where almost one of every eight Californians is jobless, many more have accepted lower-paying or part-time positions, and others face furloughs or hefty pay cuts.

For hard-hit homeowners, a loss of income can make the monthly mortgage payment a rough road. Sometimes, homeowners may miss a couple mortgage payments, and catching up can be tough.

So, Keep Your Home California established a program that helps homeowners get back on track when they face imminent danger of losing their home to foreclosure.

The Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program allows low- to moderate-income homeowners to reinstate their past-due mortgage loans. Basically, if you are behind on payments – but not in foreclosure – we can help with as much as $20,000. Now, how much depends on numerous factors, so we encourage homeowners to learn more about the program at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org and call our counseling center at 888-954-5337.

A few of the more straightforward program requirements include:

  • The loan must be less than two payments delinquent as of the date of request for assistance.
  • The applicant must own and occupy the home, which includes condominiums or town houses.
  • The house must be the homeowner’s primary residence.
  • Financial hardship cannot be from a voluntary employment resignation (as in “I quit!”).

Another requirement, one that deserves at least a few sentences – homeowners must have adequate income to make the reinstated first lien mortgage. The Keep Your Home California program will help cure the delinquent first mortgage, including possible payments to reinstate the loan from foreclosure, but we must make sure homeowners can afford the payments down the road. So, the mortgage payment cannot exceed 31 percent of the homeowner’s gross monthly income.

Quite honestly, the last thing we would want to do is get a homeowner in good standing on their mortgage only to have them start missing payments a few months later, especially when those dollars could benefit another homeowner able – and willing – to stay current on their loan.

And, of course, just like all of the four programs, your mortgage servicer must participate in the program. A vast majority of the 50 mortgage servicers currently participating in Keep Your Home California (see the complete list at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating.htm) signed on for the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program. (Get the details on mortgage servicers from this previous blog.)

Keep Your Home California has allocated $129.4 million for the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program. We estimate the program will help about 9,200 homeowners, based on an average funding of $14,048.

So, now that you know the basic information about the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program, check out the details at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/mrap.htm and call 888-954-5337 to see if it will work.

If you would like more information about Keep Your Home California and our four programs, check www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org (www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org in Spanish) or call 888-954-5337 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Almost 2.2 Million Californians Unemployed, $875 Million to Help Jobless Homeowners with Mortgage Payments

Note: This is the first blog of a four-week series that details the four programs available from Keep Your Home California.

How bad is California’s economy and unemployment picture? Well, consider this – there are 2.18 million jobless people in the state, the equivalent to everyone in San Diego and San Francisco, combined. 'San Francisco July 2008 Painted Ladies' photo (c) 2008, jondoeforty1 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It’s a jaw-dropping figure.

Many of these out-of-work Californians are financially strapped homeowners, wondering how they will make their next mortgage payment. Fortunately, Keep Your Home California’s Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program can help some of these hard-hit homeowners. The state-run program has allocated almost $875 million to help low- to moderate-income homeowners with their mortgage payments while unemployed.

The mortgage assistance program offers $3,000 per month or 100 percent of PITI (principal, interest, tax and insurance) and any escrowed homeowner’s association dues or assessments, whichever is less.

Now, there are some very specific requirements before applying for the program, and we encourage homeowners to read them at www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/uma.htm. Here are just a few requirements for homeowners that will determine if they are eligible for the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program:

  • The program is designed for homeowners who are currently eligible to receive unemployment benefits from the state Employment Development Department.
  • Homeowners must be considered low- to-moderate income, basically earn 120 percent or less of the Housing and Community Development Area Median Income. You can check a previous blog that details income eligibility to learn more, and review the county-by-county list of income levels. Each county has a different income level.
  • A house in foreclosure is not eligible for the program.
  • The home cannot be abandoned, vacant or condemned and it must serve as the homeowner’s primary residence.

Of course, requirements detailed in previous blogs still stand, specifically your mortgage servicer must participate in the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program (check this previous blog to learn more about mortgage servicers).

Here is the complete list http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating.htm of mortgage servicers and how they participate in Keep Your Home California. We have almost 50 mortgage servicers participating in Keep Your Home California, and these companies service more than 85 percent of the mortgages held by California homeowners. Now, if your mortgage servicer is not listed, check back often since more are added almost every week.

So, if you are an out-of-work homeowner, check out the details about the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/uma.htm and call 888-954-KEEP (5337) as soon as possible. We anticipate helping about 60,500 homeowners with the program, with average funding of $14,455.

If you would like more information about Keep Your Home California and our four programs, check www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org (www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org in Spanish) or call 888-954-5337 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.


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