Keep Your Home California Announced higher income limits in 26 counties will help more homeowners

Higher income limits in 26 counties will help more homeowners

Keep Your Home California recently increased homeowner income limits in 26 counties – or almost half of the counties in the state.

The higher income limits – a boost of several hundred to a couple thousand dollars – will allow more homeowners to be eligible for Keep Your Home California.

Keep Your Home California has already helped more than 65,000 homeowners, and thousands more could benefit from the free mortgage-assistance program, especially with the increased income limits.

For example, four Bay Area counties – Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara – have new income limits of $129,240, or about $50,000 more than the median household income in San Francisco, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

And lower-priced, rural counties – think Butte, Fresno, Merced, Tulare and several others – have been increased to $70,680. The higher limit easily exceeds the median household income for these counties. For example, Butte County’s annual median income is $43,165.

Now, county income limits are just part of the requirements for Keep Your Home California. A homeowner’s mortgage servicer, the company that collects the monthly payments, must participate in the program. More than 250 mortgage servicers – including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase – are enrolled in Keep Your Home California.

Homeowners must also have endured or are still dealing with a financial hardship, such as a cut in pay, job loss, death in the family or extraordinary medical expenses. Severe negative equity – an underwater mortgage with a loan-to-value ratio greater than 120% – can qualify as a financial hardship under the Principal Reduction Program.

The Principal Reduction Program offers as much as $100,000 in assistance to reduce homeowners’ outstanding balance on their first mortgage, and often lowers the monthly mortgage payment, further easing the financial burden of homeowners.

Keep Your Home California – a federally funded, state-managed program – has two other first mortgage programs to help homeowners remain in their homes:

  • Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program – Out-of-work homeowners eligible for jobless benefits can receive as much as $3,000 per month for up to 18 months, or a total of $54,000. The program allows homeowners to focus on finding work without worrying about their mortgage payments.
  • Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program – Homeowners can catch-up on past-due mortgage payments with up to $54,000 in assistance. Qualifying homeowners must be able to make their mortgage payments going forward.

Keep Your Home California counselors will determine the best program to help homeowners based on their particular situation. Also, Keep Your Home California has partnered with non-profit housing counseling agencies throughout the state, allowing homeowners to meet face-to-face with counselors to apply for the program, – all for free. Homeowners can check for housing counseling agencies in their region on the Keep Your Home California website.

Homeowners interested in learning more or applying for the program should call the counseling center at 888-954-KEEP (5337) or find more information at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org or at www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org for Spanish speakers. The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Calls can be taken in virtually any language through a free translation service.

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