More California homeowners eligible for COVID mortgage relief – Daily News

More struggling California homeowners are now eligible for mortgage relief, after the state on Tuesday expanded a COVID-19 program designed to help those who fell behind on their payments during the pandemic.

Homeowners who missed payments this year are now eligible for help that was previously only available to those who missed at least two payments before December 27, 2021.

The money can also now be used to help pay overdue property taxes, even for those with mortgage payments in progress or those who own their homes. And the state raised the income limit to be eligible — homeowners are now eligible for assistance if they earn 150% or less of their county’s median income.

Under the new metrics, the California Mortgage Relief Program estimates that about 13,000 Bay Area households are eligible for relief.

“So many Californians have seen their household finances impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency and continue to deal with the economic fallout,” said Lourdes Castro Ramírez, secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, during a Zoom press conference. In fact, about 10% of California homeowners are not confident, or only slightly confident, that they will make next month’s mortgage payment, she said, citing statistics from the US Census Bureau.

Homeowners who missed at least two mortgage payments before June 30, 2022 can now qualify for overdue payment coverage up to $80,000. But eligibility depends on household income. In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, a family of four would need to earn $214,200 or less per year to qualify. The threshold is $279,600 in San Mateo County and San Francisco, and $252,750 in Santa Clara County.

Homeowners who are caught up on mortgage payments or who fully own their home but have fallen behind on property taxes are now eligible for up to $20,000 in relief if they missed at least one mortgage payment. before May 31, 2022. Prior to the expansion, only homeowners who were behind on their mortgage or had a reverse mortgage were eligible for property tax assistance.

The news comes as inflation and record high gas prices have residents in the Bay Area and across the country scrambling to afford essentials and pay their bills.

There is no deadline to apply for the program, but the state urges homeowners to apply as soon as possible either by visiting or by calling 888-840-2594.

The $1 billion mortgage relief program, launched Dec. 27, has distributed more than $68 million to more than 1,900 homeowners. Funded by the US Federal Bailout Act of 2021, it is part of a larger state effort to help prevent Californians from losing their homes due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. .

The state also temporarily halted evictions and offered to pay rent on behalf of tenants who were struggling to make ends meet. Governor Gavin Newsom said last month that the rent relief program had distributed more than $5 billion, but activists complain it has been plagued by delays.

The state stopped accepting applications on April 1, but as of early this month, thousands of applications were backlogged. At its current pace, the state will not meet all pending claims by the time statewide eviction protections expire on June 30, according to analysis by the National Equity Atlas.

Ramírez said she was pleased with the progress made so far by the Housing Assistance Program and the Mortgage Relief Program.

“With today’s announcement,” she said, “we are making a bold statement about California’s ability to meet the needs on the ground.”

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