Best Way to Celebrate a Birthday? Help Homeowners

Keep Your Home California recently celebrated its third-year anniversary with little fanfare – no balloons, cake, candles, clowns or miniature ponies.

Instead, the free mortgage-assistance program’s employees focused on helping more homeowners, just like the previous 900-plus days of operation.

Why? Well, there are still more financially strapped homeowners in California who need the federally funded program.


Keep Your Home California helps homeowners with their mortgage payments, many who are – or were – facing a foreclosure. The program has also cut many homeowners’ mortgage principal, often reducing their monthly payment and the overall money owed.

The state-managed program has assisted more than 37,000 homeowners since it started in February 2011. Keep Your Home California has approved more than $610 million in funding, and has reserved an additional $400 million for homeowners who are still in process, for a total of about $1.1 billion.

And more than 175 mortgage servicers – including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and Citibank – now participate in at least one of the four programs, a dramatic increase from the less than 10 servicers that were enrolled when Keep Your Home California launched. In fact, 140 are enrolled in at least three of the four programs today.

So, just like a 3-year-old toddler, Keep Your Home California has enjoyed tremendous growth, thanks to committed employees, dedicated housing counselors and partnerships with servicers – and some changes to the four programs.

For example, the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, the most utilized program thus far, has been expanded from six months to 12 months since the program started. Out-of-work homeowners can receive as much as $3,000 per month for up to one year while they look for work.

The Principal Reduction Program has also expanded, from $50,000 to $100,000 in funding from Keep Your Home California. In addition, homeowners with loan-to-value ratios of 140% or greater on their mortgage will meet hardship criteria for the program, since a severe underwater mortgage is considered a financial hardship.  Homeowners must be able to demonstrate a financial hardship in order to qualify for any of the Keep Your Home California programs.

There have been other changes to the program, which this blog will detail in the coming weeks.

But, for now, the program wants to celebrate its third anniversary the best way possible – encourage more homeowners to apply for financial assistance and help them through such a difficult period.

If you have additional questions, would like more information or want to apply for the program, call 888-954-5337 or visit  (Spanish speakers should visit The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.  Translators are available, so counseling sessions can be conducted in virtually any language.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /