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.


Four questions could open the door to thousands of dollars in mortgage assistance

'268/365 - Default State' photo (c) 2009, Helga Weber - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Four easy-to-answer questions will determine if Keep Your Home California could work for you. And we’re not talking about fingers-and-toes counting, mind-numbing questions.

Do you own and occupy your home as your primary residence? Is your home in California? Is the current amount you owe on your first mortgage equal to or less than $729,750? Check the complete list – and the fourth and final question — at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org/qualify.aspx.

Rather easy questions, huh? But how you answer could determine if you are eligible for Keep Your Home California, a state-run program with $2 billion from the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund.

Now, the four questions are just the beginning of the process, but a huge step. After answering the questions and getting the thumbs up, check if your mortgage servicer – such as Bank of America, Chase Bank or Wells Fargo — is participating in the program at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating.htm.

We can’t stress this enough, your mortgage servicer must be on the list. But if your mortgage servicer isn’t participating, don’t be discouraged, just check back in a few weeks. We add mortgage servicers to the program almost every week. We have more than 50 participating servicers that cover about 90% of the mortgages held by California homeowners, a dramatic increase from when the program launched in February.

If your mortgage servicer is on the list, then we urge you to call the counseling center at 888-954-5337. A counselor will discuss the available mortgage assistance programs and learn more about your situation. Each homeowner and situation is different. In fact, some homeowners could be eligible for multiple programs and more assistance.

You can learn more about Keep Your Home California and the four programs at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/. We also encourage you to check the frequently asked questions page, which offers more details on Keep Your Home California.

Of course, just as when you bought your home, there is some paperwork involved, including financial information, with the program. But a representative will go over the details and the documents required.

Answering the four questions is just the beginning, but it opens the door to Keep Your Home California – and possibly save your home.

And you are not alone. More than 11,000 homeowners have benefited or are in the pipeline to receive funds from the state-run program, which will help about 90,000 families during the next several years.