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California offers help for more homeowners who missed mortgage or tax payments

Los Angeles Times Post

The California Mortgage Relief program is expanding its reach again, hoping to aid more homeowners who fell behind on their payments during the pandemic.


Program officials announced Tuesday that aid would be extended to three new groups: homeowners whose mortgages had a “partial claim” or deferral, those who missed a second mortgage payment after June 2022, and those with a primary residence that includes up to four units. It also offered more aid to homeowners who had previously received help from the state.


One reason for the expansion is that the state has yet to spend most of the $1 billion in homeowner aid the federal government provided through the American Rescue Plan last year. Thus far, about 10,500 households — more than half of them earning only 30% of their county’s median income — have received an average of $28,137 from the program, for a total of just under $300 million.


“Many California homeowners are still recovering from the financial hardships of the pandemic,” Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez said in a statement. “This program expansion will enable the state to assist even more homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage payments. Our primary goal is to keep families in their homes, prevent foreclosures, and assist homeowners on a stable path to financial recovery.”


Tiena Johnson Hall, executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, said the agency talked to borrowers and loan servicers to figure out how to evolve the program. “This expansion represents months of careful consideration and creative solutions that make sure the most in need get help,” Johnson Hall said.


Volma Volcy, founder and executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Ring of Democracy, said the most difficult thing has been getting eligible borrowers to take the state’s offer seriously. “They tend not to believe it because it sounds too good to be true. ... This time it’s true,” Volcy said.


“I am imploring you: Come get the help, because it works,” he added.

Under federal law, households earning up to 150% of the median income in their county who suffer a pandemic-related financial hardship are eligible for up to $80,000 for past-due mortgage payments and up to $20,000 for missed property tax payments. According to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, 150% of the median income in L.A. County last year was $125,100 for a single individual and $178,650 for a family of four.


Read more by accessing the original article. The original post of this article can be found here: https://www.latimes.com/homeless-housing/story/2023-02-07/new-help-available-for-homeowners-behind-on-their-mortgage-payments

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