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California Expands Its Homeowner Relief Program

California's Keep Your Home California program is relaxing some of its eligibility restrictions and increasing the amount of assistance it provides struggling homeowners.

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Keep Your Home California is a $2 billion program funded by the federal government through the California Housing Finance Agency.

The program aids homeowners through four sub-programs: the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program, the Principal Reduction Program, and the Transition Assistance Program.

Keep Your Home California went into effect in February and has provided aid for about 8,000 homeowners thus far.

Changes to these programs include an extension in the time period during which unemployed homeowners receive assistance from six months to nine months as well

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as the amount of money available. Unemployed homeowners may now receive up to $3,000 each month.

The Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program has also increased the amount of assistance it provides. The previous cap of $15,000 has been increased to $20,000.

The program no longer includes a ""cash-out"" restriction, which excluded homeowners who had received cash-out refinances.

Homeowners who own more than one property may also now apply for assistance through Keep Your Home California.

Additionally, through the Principal Reduction Program, homeowners can lower their mortgages by up to $100,000. The program will offer up to $50,000 provided the servicer agrees to match the aid.

Lastly, the Transition Assistance Program offers up to $5,000 to homeowners who complete servicer-approved short sales or deeds in lieu of foreclosure.

""This expanded eligibility will allow more families to qualify and receive greater assistance,"" said Claudia Cappio, Executive Director of the California Housing Finance Agency. ""We are continuously evaluating our experience so far and making adjustments like these based on the initial results of the Keep Your Home California program.""

A homeowner's servicer must participate in Keep Your Home California for a homeowner to receive aid through one of its programs. About 50 servicers, servicing more than 85 percent of California mortgages, participate in the program.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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