Too many people were being turned away because they had taken cash out of their equity. So now you can enjoy that nice vacation, drive a nice car and still get federal bail-out money. Sweet!
Mortgage aid offered to those who cashed out equity
The California Housing Finance Agency announced this week that people who cashed out equity on their home now are eligible for three of the four “Keep Your Home California” programs.
MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
Keep Your Home California is a state-run program funded with $2 billion from the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund. It is designed to help low- and moderate-income people who are unemployed or owe more than their home is worth pay their mortgage.
There are four individual programs that fall under Keep Your Home California. Eligible homeowners can get up to $50,000 in assistance from one or more of the four programs combined.
Under the new rules, people who took equity out of their homes will be eligible for the unemployment mortgage assistance, mortgage reinstatement assistance, and transition assistance programs if they meet all the other program requirements. Homeowners who cashed out equity will continue to be ineligible for the principal reduction program.
When the program first started, homeowners who had tapped the equity in their homes were ineligible for the programs. CalHFA decided to include these homeowners due to the large number of homeowners who were being turned away for assistance.
Under the program revisions, homeowners who originated mortgages after Jan. 1, 2009 also are eligible for the same three programs. Originally, these borrowers were excluded because they also are excluded under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, so CalHFA wanted to be consistent with HAMP.
To qualify for any of the four programs, homeowners must fall below certain income limits, must be living in the home, and cannot own a second home, among other criteria. For additional requirements, visit www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/eligibility.htm.
This $2 Billion program, announced a few months ago to great fanfare but little result, has determined it’s time to expand the programs due to it’s thus far limited reach. The program is designed for low and moderate income borrowers who refinanced their home, took out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or are underwater on their loans and now find themselves in trouble (duh). The program features four separate sections to help these borrowers including one to get caught up on their loan, another to reduce their principle, one to provide relocation and transition assistance and one to subsidize payments to unemployed homeowners.
Administered from a federal grant by the California Housing Finance Agency, the programs director says they started slow by design. Before jumping in with both feet they wanted to guage the response, see what kind of people were applying and why they were not qualifying. The director expects the program ultimately to help 100,000 Californians.
Of course as I noted in an earlier post when the program was announced, the program is voluntary for lenders. Yeah, you read that right. Lenders will voluntarily agree to accept partial back payments or reduced principle for borrowers who took cash out of their homes during the boom times. Low to moderate income buyers, who are in financial trouble. Yeah, the banks haven’t demonstrated much pro-activity in helping anybody at all, let alone low to moderate income folks. I’m sure this will all work out fine. Even the director admits that ‘only some lenders are participating’. Go figure.
Oh well, I guess if we can keep 100,000 low to moderate income people in their homes here while other demographic groups are ignored by HAMP and HAFA and other bail-outs, that’s a good thing, eh?
The U.S. Treasury Department has approved CalHFA’s plan to use nearly $2 billion in federal funding to help California families struggling to pay their mortgages.
The Keep Your Home California programs are focused on assisting low and moderate income families stay in their homes, when possible, and leveraging additional contributions from mortgage servicers.
Primary objectives for the Keep Your Home California programs include:
Preserving homeownership for low and moderate income homeowners in California by reducing the number of delinquencies and preventing avoidable foreclosures
Assisting in the stabilization of California communities
Each of the Keep Your Home California programs is designed to address one or more aspects of the current housing crisis by doing the following:
Helping low and moderate income homeowners retain their homes if they either have suffered a financial hardship such as unemployment, have experienced a change in household circumstance such as death, illness or disability, or are subject to a recent or upcoming increase in their monthly mortgage payment and are at risk of default because of this economic hardship when coupled with a severe decline in their home’s value.
Creating a simple, effective way to get federal funds to assist low and moderate income homeowners who meet one or all of the objective criteria described above. Speed of delivery will be balanced with fulfillment of the specific program’s mission and purpose.
Creating programs that have an immediate, direct economic and social impact on low and moderate income homeowners and their neighborhoods.