CalHFA mortgage aid program for jobless begins

On Monday, January 10th, more than two months behind schedule, the California Housing Finance Agency began taking applications for a federally funded program that gives some unemployed homeowners up to $18,000 each over six months to pay their mortgage.

To qualify, homeowners must meet income and other restrictions and their loan servicer must participate in the program. As of Friday, the 7th only three servicers had signed up, but CalHFA expected to have up to 10 by the end of that week.

The program is the first of four in California that will be financed by the Hardest Hit Fund, a $7.6 billion pot of money the Treasury Department is providing to 18 states with high unemployment rates or big drops in housing prices.

The Obama administration announced the fund in February but kept adding states and money to it throughout last year. California was one of the first states to qualify and stands to receive almost $2 billion, but has not yet launched a program.

The other three CalHFA programs, which go under the umbrella name Keep Your Home California, will:

— Give homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments up to $15,000 to reinstate them.

— Reduce principal balances by up to $50,000 for borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth.

— Provide up to $5,000 in transition assistance to homeowners who give up their homes in connection with a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

A homeowner might qualify for more than one program, but can’t get more than $50,000 in total assistance.
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