The U.S. Department of Treasury approved California’s plan to provide $1 billion in mortgage payments for tens of thousands of struggling homeowners, the state announced Dec. 20.
Called the California Mortgage Relief Program—the largest of its kind in the nation—the program offers up to $80,000 per household for past due housing payments for homeowners financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding will come from the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act.
“We are committed to supporting those hit hardest by the pandemic, and that includes homeowners who have fallen behind on their housing payments,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
“No one should have to live in fear of losing the roof over their head, so we’re stepping up to support struggling homeowners to get them the resources they need to cover past due mortgage payments,” he added, noting that renters and landlords have already been financially assisted throughout the pandemic.
The assistance, officials said, comes not a moment too soon.
“Homeowners who have had their mortgage payments paused during the pandemic are now facing the end of those forbearance periods,” Tiena Johnson Hall, executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, said in a statement. “The California Mortgage Relief Program will alleviate some of that anxiety and give eligible homeowners a chance to get caught up on those housing payments and regain that sense of security.”
To be eligible, Californians will need to be at or below 100 percent of their county’s area median income and own a single-family home, condo, or manufactured home, and must have faced a pandemic-related financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020.
Homeowners must also be receiving public assistance, be “severely housing burdened,” or be unable to work out a plan with their mortgage provider.
The state plans to help between 20,000 and 40,000 homeowners. Funds will be sent directly to the mortgage provider.
Applications can be submitted in the coming weeks. Homeowners can apply at camortgagerelief.org.