A Billion Dollar Fund Is Helping California Homeowners Make Past Due Mortgage Payments

Maxim Elramsisy | California Black Media

Relief is available for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage due to financial hardships caused by the Pandemic.

The California Mortgage Relief Program is providing a lifeline for qualifying California property owners, especially in underserved communities. Proponents of the program regard it as a safeguard to protecting generational wealth and assets.

“If you are deemed eligible and approved, we send the payment directly to your servicer or the county in which the home resides for the property tax payment, and then they’re caught up,” said CalHFA Homeowner Relief Corporation President Rebecca Franklin, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The California Mortgage Relief Program is giving grants that are funded by $1 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plans Homeowner Assistance Fund. Grants up to $80,000 for past due mortgages, and up to $20,000 for missed property taxes, will be distributed to households facing pandemic-related financial hardship. There are NO FEES to apply, and the GRANTS NEVER HAVE TO BE PAID BACK.

The relief payments are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis

“This is an awesome program that reminds me of Keep Your Home, California,” said HUD-certified housing counselor Linda Jackson. “Keep Your Home, California did have restrictions, you had to stay in the house for a period of time, so that that loan could be forgiven. I say to everyone, this is free money ya’ll. So, we got to get the free money because you don’t have to pay this back. If anyone charges you for this program, run, because it’s at no cost.”

The application is at www.CAMortgageRelief.org and it includes a calculator to help you see if you qualify. The website also provides resources to help fill out the application. To complete the process, you will need some basic documentation like a mortgage statement, property tax bill, or utility bill.

The application typically takes less than 20 minutes to fill out online. For help completing it, contact the program center at 1(888)840-2594. Additional help with this program and others is available from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development certified counselors at 1-800-569-4287.

“One of the biggest issues is a lot of our community members are older community members that don’t know how to use computers,” said Community Action League CEO Pharaoh Mitchell. “They come in and they’re frustrated, and we literally have to be counselors to them, to [tell them] ‘calm down, we’re here to help you. This is a friendly process. Let’s get you through it.”

“I’m proud that they’re making a conscious effort to really reach into the Black community and make sure our underserved community is served,” Mitchell added.

The program is designed to help low and moderate-income households. It has a cap for people earning more than 150% of the median income in their county, adjusted for the number of people in the household. Officials say it was created to assist people who are behind on payments, specifically those who have missed at least two payments and currently have a past due balance as of Dec. 1, 2022.

Aside from the income requirement and the delinquent payment criteria, there are almost no additional qualifiers (properties must be owner occupied, though, but some multi-unit properties may be eligible).

Homeowners with fully paid mortgages may be eligible for relief as well. Those having trouble paying their property taxes because of the pandemic may be eligible for Property Tax Relief. To qualify for the property tax relief, individuals must have missed a previous property tax payment last spring and fallen into delinquency.

Thanks to the program, to date 8,302 households have received relief. Officials anticipate the funding will reach 20,000-40,000 more homeowners. A total of $246,538,132 has already been disbursed, leaving more than 75% of the allocated funds still available. The average amount granted across the state was $29,696.

For more information or general questions email [email protected] or call 1(888)840-2594.