Attorney General Bonta Highlights California Mortgage Relief Program
Attorney General Rob Bonta issued an alert highlighting the California Mortgage Relief Program, a relief program that uses $1 billion in federal Homeowner Assistance Funds to provide financial assistance to low to moderate-income homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments as a result of COVID-19’s impact.
“What makes the California Mortgage Relief Program so unique, is that the financial assistance provided through this program is completely free and does not need to be paid back. This is an important opportunity for struggling homeowners to receive federal grants of up to $80,000.00 per household that will help them get caught up on their housing payments,” said Attorney General Bonta. “It is crucial that homeowners check to see if they qualify for this free financial assistance, and apply as soon as possible so that they can get the help that they need to keep their home.”
Through the state’s Mortgage Relief Program, California will provide these grant funds to up to 40,000 homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments across the state. These funds are reserved for homeowners in underserved and socially disadvantaged areas, which have been struck the worst by the pandemic. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeowners Assistance funds the California Mortgage Relief Program (CMRP) and is open to all eligible Californians.
Californians must have a participating mortgage servicer in order to be eligible for this relief. Attorney General Bonta addressed a letter to key mortgage servicers in February urging them to participate in the California Mortgage Relief Program immediately and fully. For a list of servicers participating in the program, go to camortgagerelief.org/mortgage-servicers/.
“The California Mortgage Relief Program gives qualified homeowners who were most impacted by the pandemic a chance to regain their footing financially,” said Rebecca Franklin, President of CalHFA Homeowner Relief Corporation. “The program is open to homeowners, even if they have already received government COVID-19 assistance.”
This program will pay up to $80,000.00 worth of mortgage, property tax, and insurance bills for qualified applicants. Funds from the program are given directly to your mortgage servicer. The program is absolutely free and recipients don’t have to repay the funds. Eligible applicants must be at or below 100% of their county’s Area Median Income. They also must own a single-family home, condo, or permanently affixed manufactured home. Applicants also must have faced a pandemic-related financial hardship after January 21, 2020. However, they may only own and occupy one property. Homeowners must be at least two payments past due by December 27, 2021. Applicants also must be either a recipient of public assistance, must pay more than 40% of their income in housing costs, or must have been denied an alternate mortgage workout plan by their servicer. They can’t have cash or assets equal to or greater than the money you need plus $20,000.00. This amount does not include money in a retirement account. The money is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Homeowners will need several financial documents to complete the application, such as a mortgage statement, bank statement, utility bills, and income documentation for all household members over 18 (W-2s, tax returns, pay stubs, etc). California Mortgage Relief Program applications are now being accepted online at CaMortgageRelief.org. The app is accessible in six different languages.
If you feel you have been a victim of mortgage relief fraud in California, please contact the Attorney General’s Office by filing a complaint online at oag.ca.gov/report or calling (800) 952-5225 (TTY (800) 735-2922). You can also contact the Treasury Office of the Inspector General’s Investigation Services at oig.treasury.gov/report-fraud-waste-and-abuse to report identified or suspected fraud.