SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A state-managed mortgage assistance program is getting a $383.3 million funding infusion from the federal government to help prevent foreclosure for more homeowners struggling with financial hardships, it was announced Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury funding for Keep Your Home California will allow the program to help at least 12,000 more homeowners, according to state Treasurer John Chiang.
With the additional funding, Keep Your Home California will now continue to Dec. 31, 2020, or until the money is used, whichever comes first. The previous deadline for the program, under which qualifying homeowners can receive up to $100,000 in mortgage payment assistance, was Dec. 31, 2017.
"U.S. Treasury's announcement of additional funding for Keep Your Home California further validates the ongoing challenges many Californians are experiencing with homeownership," Chiang said. "We are excited to have the opportunity to help many more California homeowners who are struggling with their mortgages due to unaffordable payments, unemployment, negative equity and other financial hardships."
When Keep Your Home California launched in February 2011, nearly $2 billion was available to California homeowners to help prevent foreclosures. The additional funding brings the grand total to $2.36 billion in mortgage payment assistance available to low- to moderate-income California homeowners.
So far, Keep Your Home California has assisted more than 62,200 homeowners and issued about $1.34 billion, according to state officials.
"Today's announcement continues Treasury's commitment to provide relief to struggling homeowners and help stabilize neighborhoods in hard hit areas," said Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Mark McArdle.
"While the housing market continues to recover, we know some homeowners and areas are still experiencing the damaging effects of the housing crisis," he said. "With this additional funding, states will be equipped to continue their great work in getting critical resources to those most in need."
Keep Your Home California recently reported its two best quarters so far. The program issued more than $95 million in funding during the third and fourth quarters of 2015 for a combined $190 million for the six-month period.
More than 1 million Californians were jobless in March, including many out-of-work homeowners, according to the state Employment Development Department. At the end of 2015, about 50,000 homeowners in the state were at least 90 days behind on their mortgage payments.
California had the most negative-equity of any state at $65 billion, or 13 percent of the negative-equity mortgages nationwide, at the end of the third quarter in 2015, according to data from Zillow.
"The demand for assistance from homeowners and the figures from housing industry reports clearly demonstrate the continued need for Keep Your Home California," said Tia Boatman Patterson, executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Keep Your Home California.
"Our primary goal is to help struggling homeowners with their mortgage problems, but everyone, from neighborhoods to state government, benefits from Keep Your Home California," she said.
Homeowners seeking more information about Keep Your Home California should call 888-954-KEEP between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, or visit their website.
Representatives can take applications in virtually any language through a translation service and there is no fee for any Keep Your Home California services.