California residents who are unemployed or owe more on their mortgages than what their homes are worth now have four new state programs that will help them stay in their house and current on their mortgage. The California Housing Finance Agency fully implemented the programs under its “Keep Your Home California” initiative, a nearly $2 billion endeavor funded by the U.S. Treasury‘s Hardest Hit Fund. Alabama recently jump-started a program to distribute its funds from the Treasury HHF. “Our goal is to get the very most out of these federal dollars to assist California families,” said Steven Spears, executive director of CalHFA. “With families struggling through a number of financial hardships and the disruption in the real estate market, these programs will help those in need while stabilizing neighborhoods and communities severely impacted by foreclosures.” Under Keep Your Home California are three programs that offer several forms of mortgage assistance and one program that provides transition assistance to borrowers in the process of a short sale of deed-in-lieu transaction. The Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program is designed to give unemployed homeowners up to $3,000 a month or 100% of the existing total monthly mortgage payment stay current, depending on which amount is less. The Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program is intended to help homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgage payment due to a temporary change in household circumstance, such as death or serious illness. The Cali Housing Finance Agency will fund up to $15,000 per household under this program. CalHFA is also offering a principal reduction to borrowers at risk of default because of an economic hardship coupled with a severe decline in the home’s value. The Principal Reduction Program provides capital to reduce outstanding principal balances of qualifying borrowers with negative equity and most likely prelude a loan modification, the agency said. Homeowners receive assistance with relocating under the Transition Assistance Program. The program is used in conjunction with a servicer-approved short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure program. All programs were supposed to be in effect by Nov. 1, but were delayed due to logistical issues, according to an article by the Sacramento Bee. Still, Norma Torres, a member of California’s Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, commented that any action taken is a step in the right direction. “No one program will solve the foreclosure crisis affecting our state, but together we hope to make a difference for as many families as possible,” she said. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.

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