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  • The California Housing Finance Agency is California’s main housing agency. It has several mortgage assistance programs designed to both help first-time buyers purchase a home and assist those that already have a home keep it. Those programs designed to protect Californian homeowners from foreclosure are under the Keep Your Home California program, which provides up to $2 billion in cash for foreclosure prevention programs. However, previous eligibility criteria was too stringent to allow many struggling homeowners qualify for assistance. The California’s Housing Finance Agency has reduced the requirements of these programs to help more struggling homeowners benefit from them.

    Unemployed Workers

    Under the new rules unemployed workers who are at risk of losing their homes can request federal mortgage assistance of up to $3,000 a month. Similarly, homeowners who are facing financial hardship can apply for up to $15,000 a family to reinstate mortgages at risk of foreclosure. Even homeowners who have no choice but to let their homes go can apply under the new rules for assistance for relocation expenses. These and many other changes have been backdates to mortgages originated after January, 1, 2009. This means that even if your application for help previously put down, you may reapply and see it approved under the new rules.

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    These changes have come after the California Housing Finance Agency collected information on the existing programs and identified the areas where improvements were required. One of the main factors considered were the ongoing high-rates of unemployment in California which increased the risk of households, which had previously being regular with their mortgage payments, would lose their homes to foreclosure.

    The California Housing Finance Agency acts  as an intermediary between the Housing and Urban Development and servicers in some programs and as principal program manager in others. The servicers used by the CalHFA include the Guild Mortgage, GMAC, the California and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Funding for the programs originates from the Housing and Urban Development Department and the Dodd-Frank Act. Funds of up to $1 billion have been assigned to unemployed workers struggling to pay their mortgage and over $450 million will go to the State of California. Other states that have relaxed the eligibility criteria of their mortgage assistance programs and will receive assistance from the Dodd-Frank Act include Delaware, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

    One of these programs, is the Emergency Homeowner Loan, which is available for unemployed workers who had an income of 120 percent the median income and who had seen their income drop by at least 15 percent since they lost their job.

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