$2.5 billion economic benefit from Keep Your Home California

Keep Your Home California has helped more than 70,000 homeowners prevent foreclosure during the past six years. However, all Californians benefit from the free mortgage-assistance program.

Statewide, Keep Your Home California had an economic multiplier effect of 2.0, meaning for every $1 funded to help homeowners another $2 was preserved, according to The Economic Impact of Keep Your Home California: A Statewide and Regional Analysis report from Dr. Joseph C. Von Nessen of the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. Dr. Von Nessen analyzed the economic impact of Keep Your Home California for the period from 2010 through 2015. The 40-page report includes data for each city and county, from Calexico to Crescent City.

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Keep Your Home California has a far-reaching effect on the statewide economy beyond just helping homeowners, preserving $2.5 billion worth of economic activity during the first five years of the program. The figure includes preserving jobs, generating tax revenue and protecting property values of assisted and nearby homeowners.

Keep Your Home California was established in 2010 after the state received $2 billion from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund to help low to moderate income homeowners dealing with a financial hardship to avoid preventable foreclosures.

The state-managed program was fully implemented in early 2011, at a time when many homeowners were dealing with foreclosures and nearly all homeowners were faced with a significant drop in the value of their homes. In addition, more than 2 million Californians were jobless – including hundreds of thousands of homeowners – during the peak of the Great Recession.

Keep Your Home California has provided much-needed help to homeowners faced with considerable uncertainty.

“A strong and vibrant housing market is a critical component of any healthy economy,” said Dr. Von Nessen. “Housing is not only one of the largest sectors of the economy, but individuals who live in stable housing environments also experience many economic and social benefits.”

But everyone, from local governments to small-business owners, have benefited from the program.

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For example, helping preserve property values also preserves property tax revenue for local government agencies, from cities and counties to school districts, and the state as well. Helping homeowners catch-up on their past-due mortgage payments or lowering their monthly mortgage payments preserves or increases consumer spending on goods and services – which helps local businesses and generates sales-tax revenue.

“Through the economic ripple effect, Keep Your Home California has not only helped those directly assisted by the program, but also many others, including employees who kept their jobs and small-business owners who maintained their customers,” said Tia Boatman Patterson, Executive Director of the California Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Keep Your Home California. “Neighborhoods, communities and the state have all benefited from the program.”

How much a community has benefited from Keep Your Home California depends on numerous factors, including number of homeowners helped, programs they used, income and even housing density. Each Keep Your Home California program helps homeowners – and the California economy – in very unique ways.

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The Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program had the largest economic impact at $1.16 billion statewide, while the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program had the largest multiplier with $4.35 of economic benefit for every $1 in funding issued.

Keep Your Home California has four first mortgage assistance programs to help homeowners.

  • Unemployment Mortgage Assistance: Out-of-work homeowners eligible for jobless benefits could receive as much as $3,000 per month for up to 18 months – or a total of $54,000.
  • Principal Reduction Program: Homeowners could receive a maximum of $100,000 in principal reduction, and many also enjoy a lower monthly mortgage payment.
  • Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program: The program allows homeowners to catch-up on their past-due mortgage payment, up to $54,000. However, homeowners must be able to demonstrate they can make their mortgage payments going forward.
  • Transition Assistance Program: Homeowners with an approved deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or short sale from their mortgage servicer could receive as much as $5,000 in relocation assistance.

In order to apply for Keep Your Home California, homeowners must have a financial hardship, such as a job loss, cut in pay, divorce, death in the family or extraordinary medical expenses.

In addition to the financial hardship, homeowners must meet county-by-county income requirements and their mortgage servicer – the company that collects the monthly payment – needs to participate in Keep Your Home California. More than 260 servicers, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, participate in the program.

Homeowners interested in learning more or applying for the program should call the counseling center at 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org or www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org for Spanish speakers. The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Calls can be taken in virtually any language through a free translation service.

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