We’re always looking for more homeowners to share their experiences about Keep Your Home California

A Sacramento-area single mother who endured a layoff now enjoys an opportunity at an education and a new profession.

A Fresno homeowner who has battled cancer, diabetes, the death of his parents and the loss of his longtime job is able to remain in his home.

Carrie G. and her family were able to catch up on their mortgage with the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program.

Carrie G. and her family were able to catch up on their mortgage with the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program.

And a grandmother who lives with her daughter and special needs grandson in Southern California catches up on her past-due mortgage payments.

All three are just a few of the more than 45,000 homeowners who have benefited from Keep Your Home California, a free mortgage-assistance program.

Almost 30 homeowners, including the three above, have shared their experiences on the state-run program’s website. These Success Stories detail how the homeowners learned about the program, how long the process took and how much Keep Your Home California has helped them.

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We’re always looking for more homeowners to share their stories. If you have been approved for the program and are interested in talking about the experience, please send an email to success@kyhca.org.

Every homeowner has different circumstances, from their financial hardships – a cut in pay, a job loss, a divorce or even the loss of a spouse – to their specific mortgage needs. But all of the featured homeowners have one thing in common: Keep Your Home California.

“This is truly changing our life, changing our future and rescuing my family and our home. Words can’t express our gratitude for what has been done for us. We feel like this is a fresh start for us.”

“I was at my wits ends, I’ve been in my home for 35 years and I thought I was going to lose it.”

“I cannot express it in words; it brought tears to my eyes. It was such a relief. I was sitting there in tears; I was prepared to lose my home.”

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These are just some of the emotions and gratitude expressed in the Success Stories. Please take a few moments to read the homeowners’ stories and learn more about Keep Your Home California.

Keep Your Home California has four programs to help homeowners:

  • Principal Reduction Program: Homeowners could qualify for a maximum of $100,000 in principal reduction, which will also often cut their monthly mortgage payments. A mortgage with a loan-to-value ratio of 120% or greater is considered an eligible financial hardship for the program. However, homeowners with “underwater mortgages” must be able to make their mortgage payments going forward in order to be eligible for the program.
  • Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program: Out-of-work homeowners collecting jobless benefits from the state Employment Development Department can receive as much as $3,000 per month in mortgage assistance for up to 12 months.
  • Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program: Homeowners who are behind two months or more on their payments could receive as much as $25,000 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 be eligible for the program.
  • Transition Assistance Program: Homeowners who have reached an agreement with their mortgage servicer for a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or a short sale could receive up to $5,000 in relocation assistance.

Of course, homeowners must also meet county-by-county income requirements, and their mortgage servicer must participate in Keep Your Home California. Currently, more than 200 servicers are enrolled in the program, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and several other large servicers. To check the complete list of mortgage servicers enrolled in the program, visit: http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating-servicers/.

If you would like more information or want to apply for Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org (Spanish speakers should visit http://conservatucasacalifornia.org/). 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.


Keep Your Home California’s severe negative equity hardship criteria for the Principal Reduction Program helps more homeowners with underwater mortgages

Despite a better economy and much-improved housing markets in many part of the state, a significant number of homeowners in California continue to struggle with underwater mortgages.

In fact, about 10% to 15% of homeowners in the state still owe more on their mortgage than the current market value of their house, according to recent industry reports.

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Many of these homes are in the inland areas of California, such as the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) and the San Joaquin Valley, from Bakersfield to Stockton. Regardless of where homeowners live – Redlands or Redding – if they are dealing with a significantly underwater mortgage, financial help is possible with Keep Your Home California’s Principal Reduction Program (PRP).

PRP offers as much as $100,000 to help homeowners who have experienced a financial hardship, have severe negative equity or both. Since severe negative equity reduces the options available to homeowners dealing with unaffordable mortgage payments, it is recognized as a hardship under the PRP guidelines.

Homeowners with a loan-to-value ratio of 120% or greater – for example, the unpaid principal balance of the first mortgage is $360,000, but the current value of the home is only $300,000 – meet the qualified hardship requirement for the Principal Reduction Program. Based on current data, many California homeowners with mortgages have a loan-to value ratio greater than 120%.

If you are a homeowner with an underwater mortgage, you should apply for this free, government sponsored program. Between April and June of this year, homeowners that qualified for the PRP saw a reduction in the median property loan-to-value decrease from 146% to 112%, and experience an average 20% reduction in their monthly payments.

Homeowners must meet county-by-county income requirements, and their mortgage servicer must participate in the Principal Reduction Program. Currently, almost 140 servicers are enrolled in the program, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and several other large servicers. To check the complete list of mortgage servicers enrolled in the program, visit: http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating-servicers/.

If you would like more information or want to apply for Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org (Spanish speakers should visit http://conservatucasacalifornia.org/). 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 cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.