In 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury created the Hardest Hit Fund to provide targeted aid to homeowners in those states, including California, most affected by the housing market crash. California initially received millions of dollars to provide assistance to homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments and established the Keep Your Home California program. Further funding was approved in 2016.
While the Hardest Hit Fund states have through 2020 to utilize their funds, Keep Your Home California stopped accepting new applications in 2018 when its allocated money ran out.
Though, because there's a possibility that more money could be given to the Hardest Hit Fund states, here's a brief rundown of the Keep Your Home California programs, for informational purposes only, just in case they reopen at some point. (Other states also closed their Hardest Hit Fund programs early when funding ran out, but reopened them when more money became available.)
The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), which was established in 1975, provides financing for low and moderate-income homeowners in California. With approval from the U.S. Treasury Department and funded by the federal Hardest Hit Fund, CalHFA implemented the Keep Your Home California programs to provide assistance to eligible California homeowners who were facing foreclosure.
The CalHFA Mortgage Assistance Corporation (CalHFA MAC) administered various programs under Keep Your Home California, which included:
The Reverse Mortgage Assistance Pilot Program—which provided up to $25,000 to eligible senior homeowners who had fallen behind on property expenses (like property taxes, homeowners' insurance, and HOA dues or assessments) to reinstate past-due amounts—closed on November 30, 2017.
Because Keep Your Home California was funded by federal dollars, there wasn't a fee to participate and participants typically won't have to repay the assistance received.
The assistance was provided in the form of a non-recourse, non-interest bearing subordinate loan secured by a junior lien that was recorded against the property (except for TAP assistance, which was not structured as a loan). The junior lien is forgiven after five years (most programs) from the date assistance was provided. Participants need to repay the loan only if they sell the home for a profit or refinance and take cash out before the forgiveness date.
To get additional information about Keep Your Home California, go to www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org or www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org (for a Spanish-language version of the website). Even though they're no longer accepting new applications for assistance, these websites provide information about the programs.
If you're behind in your mortgage payments and want to learn about different ways to avoid a foreclosure, consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer or a HUD-approved housing counselor.
Updated October 2, 2018