Real Estate Market

California gets $700,000 slice of special $1.5 billion homeowner bailout pie

6/28/10 - California struck gold, receiving the biggest chunk of a special $1.5 billion federal fund pie for programs that target struggling homeowners in states hardest hit by the housing crash.

California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) recently announced the fat $700,000 slice would go toward four different programs ultimately assisting 40,000 homeowners.

Earlier this year President Obama announced the $1.5 billion infusion for state housing agencies in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada, where home values have fallen more than 20 percent from peak 2006 and 2007 markets.

The $1.5 billion will be withdrawn from funds set aside for housing under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA).

The money is earmarked for state agency programs that reduce so-called "preventable" foreclosures faced by unemployed home owners, so-called "underwater" home owners and home owners struggling with second mortgages.

In addition to California's $699.6 million stake, Florida gets $418 million; Michigan, $154.5 million, Arizona, $125.1 million and Nevada, $102.8 million.

"We are very grateful that the Obama Administration recognizes that California and several other states have been severely impacted by the twin problems of unemployment and home price depreciation," said Steven Spears, executive director of CalHFA

The details aren't finalized and homeowners, who needn't be CalHFA loan holders, must otherwise quality before approval. CalHFA's federally approved "Keep Your Home" programs are:

• Mortgage payment assistance for jobless. Up to six months of mortgage payment assistance, with a $1,500 cap for homeowners who have lost their jobs.

• Mortgage payment assistance for past-due homeowners. Up to $15,000 each, with a mandated match from the mortgage lender, the help those with past-due payments.

• Mortgage principal reduction. Underwater borrowers, who owe significantly more on their loans than their homes are worth, get a mortgage principal reduction to "market levels."

• Transition assistance. For those who can't afford to stay in their homes and are completing a short sale or handing over the deed in lieu of a foreclosure, financial assistance for the transition will be provided.

For more details contact CalHFA's Keep Your Home program online or by phone (916) 373-2585.

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