42,000 of California’s jobless will get help with mortgages

by jwasserman@sacbee.com  Published Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010

More than 42,000 laid-off California homeowners are about to get a break. Starting Nov. 1, the government will help them make mortgage payments while they look for another job.

Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department added $476.2 million to a $64 million state program that will pay jobless homeowners up to $1,500 a month. The funding represents the newest federal effort to steer Troubled Asset Relief Program funds originally designated to prop up lender balance sheets to homeowners instead.

The powerfully upgraded $540 million program will help California’s struggling borrowers make up to six months of payments. Lenders will be asked to match the government contribution.

In a statement Wednesday, Steven Spears, executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, said the cash will “prevent foreclosures that would otherwise devastate neighborhoods, communities and California’s economy.”

CalHFA will administer the program as the state’s affordable housing bank. In recent weeks the agency has received $1.1 billion in federal funds for states hit hardest by the housing crash. The money will subsidize mortgage payments, partially pay off mortgages and help thousands of borrowers catch up with payments.

In the capital region, unemployment has soared to 12.4 percent – and to nearly 20 percent in Yuba and Sutter counties. There have been 67,000 foreclosures since the start of 2007.

“In this recession people have been out of work longer. So we wanted to do this,” Assistant Treasury Secretary Herb Allison said Wednesday during a media conference call.

The California program aims to help 19,000 unemployed borrowers make a few months of mortgage payments between its November launch and next July. Another 23,000 borrowers will receive help in the next two years, according to CalHFA estimates.

To qualify, homeowners must be out of work, eligible for unemployment benefits, and live in the home tied to the problem mortgage. They must be fewer than 90 days behind on mortgage payments and meet low- and moderate-income guidelines. Generally, that’s less than $70,000 for couples in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, and less than $54,000 for couples in Yuba and Sutter counties.

But many who refinanced during the housing boom will find themselves ineligible. CalHFA said it is generally limiting aid to unemployed borrowers struggling with purchase loans. Though criticized for the exclusion, CalHFA officials said recently they can’t decide who “cashed out for a good reason and who didn’t.”

Wednesday’s $476.2 million allocation to California was the largest share of $2 billion awarded to 17 states. Altogether, CalHFA has received 29 percent of $4.1 billion in foreclosure prevention funds steered this summer to state housing finance agencies.

More information is available at the Keep Your Home website: www.keepyourhomecalifornia.com; or call (916) 373-2585.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.


About Ron Jesser Realtor

I'm All About Real Estate And I Know The Desert! After 14 years of selling, I better!   When selecting a Realtor or real estate agent, a thorough knowledge of the community, strong negotiation skills, and a commitment to excellent service are all skills you’ll want on your side of the table. Experience counts!

 With great experience as a Palm Springs Realtor and extensive knowledge as a Realtor servicing Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, La Quinta, and Indio, I help both buyers and sellers meet their real estate objectives. I will work tirelessly on your behalf by being available to you when you need me to answer questions, provide information or ensure our deal is progressing smoothly; by having a solid team ready to take care of any need or request that comes our way and by providing any resource necessary to make your transaction trouble free. Sellers—I am committed to selling your home or property in a timely fashion and at the highest possible price. If you are interested in receiving a free home valuation, I encourage you to fill out my free Home Valuation Form or check out my Dream Home Finder at www.RonJesser.com Buyers—I will work with you to find your ideal home at your ideal price. Let’s narrow down what you are looking for, so we can begin the home showing process and get you a closer look at what these communities have to offer. No matter what it takes, your next home buying or home selling experience will be an enjoyable and successful one because I will be doing the work for you. And by working tirelessly on your behalf, as a team we will make your next home buying or home selling experience an enjoyable and successful one. 
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