This State Is Helping Homeowners Hit by the Pandemic Save Up to $80,000. Here's How

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KEY POINTS

  • The pandemic forced many homeowners to fall behind on mortgage and property tax payments.
  • California residents may be eligible for relief that helps them avoid losing their homes.


Talk about a lifeline.

When the COVID-19 outbreak first hit U.S. soil, it caused an unprecedented unemployment crisis that left millions of Americans out of work. And that crisis wasn't short-lived. Many people were out of work for a year or longer, and even those who weren't jobless as long as that felt the financial impact well beyond 2020.

During the initial stages of the pandemic, there were programs in place to help struggling Americans keep up with their housing expenses. In fact, homeowners were given the option to put their mortgages into forbearance, during which time they would not be considered delinquent for skipping payments.

But forbearance only lasted 18 months. And many homeowners who put their mortgages into forbearance at the start of the pandemic found that by the fall of 2021, they were no better off financially than they were in 2020.

As such, many people fell behind on their mortgage payments, and on their property taxes, too. Falling behind on these payments often means running the risk of losing a home. But one state is stepping up to help ensure that residents don't wind up losing the homes they've worked so hard for.

More relief for California homeowners

The California Mortgage Relief Program has already issued over $68 million in grants to resident homeowners in an effort to help them keep their homes after falling behind on payments. Now, the program is being expanded so that more residents are eligible for relief.

Specifically, the California Mortgage Relief Program is now open to homeowners with a household income at or below 150% of the county's Area Median Income. By expanding income requirements for the program, California lawmakers have opened the door for a lot more people to get relief.

Who's eligible for assistance?

To receive aid from the California Mortgage Relief Program, you'll need to have missed at least two mortgage payments before June 20, 2022, and you'll need to currently be considered delinquent on your mortgage. Similarly, if you have past-due property taxes and missed at least one payment before May 31, 2022, you may be eligible for a grant to cover your tax bill.

How much aid might you get?

Housing in California can be expensive, and the California Mortgage Relief Program reflects that. As such, some homeowners may be eligible for up to $80,000 to cover missed housing payments, and up to $20,000 to cover unpaid property taxes.

How to apply

If you previously applied for the California Mortgage Relief Program but were rejected, it could pay to apply again now that the program's income limit requirements have changed. In fact, those in that boat will supposedly be notified that they can reapply, though you may want to be proactive rather than wait to receive that notice.

If you think you're eligible, you can apply for relief online or call 1-888-840-2594 for more information. There's no deadline to apply for the program, but you may want to get moving sooner rather than later to avoid a scenario where you're denied relief because the program has run out of funds.

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