Homeowners who have fallen behind on housing payments during the COVID-19 pandemic may apply for California’s Mortgage Relief Program which is now accepting applications online.

The California Mortgage Relief Program aims to help up to 40,000 residents with funds reserved for homeowners in socially disadvantaged and underserved communities often hit hardest by the pandemic.

Those who are eligible may qualify for a maximum of $80,000 per household, with direct payment to qualified homeowners’ mortgage servicers. A grant will not have to be paid back. 

A total of $1 billion in funding for the program is allocated through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeowner Assistance Fund. California’s program was approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury to help homeowners who have faced a pandemic-related financial hardship between Jan. 21, 2020, and Dec. 27, 2021.

“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. Our Housing is Key program has already provided renters and landlords with the assistance and resources they need to stay afloat. Now, with our California Mortgage Relief Program, we are extending that relief to homeowners,” said Governor Gavin Newsom in a press release. 

Who is eligible?

According to the program’s website, California has a series of requirements that applicants need to meet in order to receive funding from the program which include homeownership, income maximums, and financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Applicants must meet all of the following:

  • Household income is at or below 100% of their county’s Area Median Income;
  • Own a single-family home, condo, or permanently affixed manufactured home in California; and
  • Have faced a pandemic-related financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020.

And meet at least one of the following:

  • Receiving public assistance;
  • Severely housing burdened; or
  • Been denied an alternative mortgage workout option by their mortgage servicer

How to apply

Homeowners seeking assistance may apply by visiting their website at CaMortgageRelief.org. A series of questions will be asked on the application to establish eligibility for the relief funds and it will be evaluated. If the applicant qualifies based on the provided information, the application will be made available. 

Documentation pertaining to household income and house payments may be required during the process. According to the website, the applicant needs to gather mortgage and bank statements, utility bills, and income documentation like pay stubs or tax returns. 

The program will end once all the funds are allocated which is projected to happen by 2025, according to the website. Applicants are warned by the state that the process may take several weeks to process due to the high volume of applications being submitted.

Full details about the program can be found here. The website also features a comprehensive “frequently asked questions” section for those looking for even more information.

Prospective applicants who may not have access to a computer or internet may contact their mortgage provider or by calling a HUD certified housing counselor at 1-800-569-4287.

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