Cash-strapped homeowner Carrie and her husband got behind on their mortgage payments when he lost his construction job.

Frank battled health issues and hefty medical expenses, and, to make matters worse, his longtime employer closed the plant where he worked. His one-time affordable mortgage became an impossible-to-make payment.

When a big bank closed a local service center, Edith and dozens of other employees who owned homes were suddenly without work and wondered how to keep their homes.

Keep Your Home California—the state’s free mortgage-assistance program—has helped all three and more than 53,000 other financially struggling low- to moderate-income homeowners during the past four years.

“This is truly changing our life, changing our future and rescuing my family and our home,” said Carrie, who was able to catch up on her mortgage payments thanks to Keep Your Home California. “Words can’t express our gratitude for what has been done for us. We feel like this is a fresh start for us.”

Keep Your Home California and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) will hold a free Foreclosure Prevention Workshop to assist homeowners on June 27 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Los Angeles at the Ward AME Church. Homeowners will be able to learn how they could qualify for up to $100,000 in mortgage payment assistance at the event, as well as meet with Keep Your Home California counselors to apply for the program.

Recent changes to Keep Your Home California have made it easier than ever for homeowners to qualify for assistance. The program began helping homeowners in February 2011, after the state received almost $2 billion from the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund. To date, more than 53,000 households have received more than $1 billion in assistance.

“Despite a better economy and job market, there are still many homeowners who are faced with numerous challenges, from catching up on their mortgage payments to finding work,” said Tia Boatman Patterson, executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), which oversees the state-run program. “We’re just as committed today as in the first days of the program to helping California homeowners prevent avoidable foreclosures.”

Keep Your Home California has four programs to help homeowners who are experiencing struggles with their first mortgage:

• Principal Reduction Program: Homeowners who owe more than their home is worth and/or have an unaffordable monthly payment can receive as much as $100,000 to lower their principal balance—and reduce their monthly mortgage payments.

• Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program: Out-of-work homeowners can receive as much as $3,000 per month for up to 18 months, to cover their mortgage payments while they are looking for work.

• Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program: Homeowners who are behind two months or more on their payments could receive as much as $54,000 to help them “catch up” on their past-due mortgage payments.

• Transition Assistance Program: Homeowners who have reached an agreement with their mortgage servicer for a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or a short sale could receive up to $5,000 in relocation assistance.

In order to qualify, homeowners must meet program eligibility requirements, including having suffered a financial hardship—such as a job loss, cut in pay, a divorce, a death or extraordinary medical expenses—and meet county-by-county income requirements.

More information is available at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org.

The Foreclosure Prevention Workshop on June 27 is free to attend and is located at the following address: Ward AME Church 1177 W. 25th St. Los Angeles. More information about the event can be obtained by calling (855) 286-4912 ext: 9.