Sacramento, California - Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that California’s plan to provide $1 billion in mortgage relief grants to tens of thousands of homeowners who have fallen behind on housing payments or reverse mortgage arrearages during the COVID-19 pandemic has been approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, clearing the way for a full program launch in the coming weeks. Under Governor Newsom’s plan, the California Mortgage Relief Program will help an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 struggling homeowners, with funds reserved for homeowners in socially disadvantaged and underserved communities often hit hardest by the pandemic.
"We are committed to supporting those hit hardest by the pandemic, and that includes homeowners who have fallen behind on their housing payments," said Governor Newsom. "No one should have to live in fear of losing the roof over their head, so we’re stepping up to support struggling homeowners to get them the resources they need to cover past due mortgage payments. Our Housing is Key program has already provided renters and landlords with the assistance and resources they need to stay afloat. Now, with our California Mortgage Relief Program, we are extending that relief to homeowners."
Through the mortgage relief program, past due housing payments will be covered in full – up to a maximum of $80,000 per household – with a direct payment to qualified homeowners’ mortgage servicers. The financial support is provided as a one-time grant that qualified homeowners will not have to repay, so that they can get caught up and have a fresh start. Funding for the program is allocated through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeowner Assistance Fund.
“During this pandemic, Californians have lost their jobs or had their paychecks cut, leading many to wonder how they can keep up with their housing payments,” said Lourdes M. Castro Ramírez, Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. “This program will help families keep their homes and provide the stability they need to recover from the financial, physical and emotional toll caused by the pandemic.”
The California Mortgage Relief Program will be a part of California’s Housing is Key program and is designed to work in tandem with several existing state and federal initiatives and programs to support residents facing difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Homeowners who have had their mortgage payments paused during the pandemic are now facing the end of those forbearance periods," said Tiena Johnson Hall, Executive Director of the California Housing Finance Agency, "The California Mortgage Relief Program will alleviate some of that anxiety and give eligible homeowners a chance to get caught up on those housing payments and regain that sense of security."
Californians at or below 100 percent of their county’s Area Median Income, who own a single-family home, condo or manufactured home (permanently affixed) and faced a pandemic-related financial hardship after January 21, 2020, may be eligible.
The California Mortgage Relief Program will begin accepting applications in the coming weeks through an online portal at CaMortgageRelief.org. Interested applicants can visit the website to review program and eligibility information leading up to the launch of the application portal.
A detailed description of California’s program, as approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, can be viewed here.