As the new year is upon us, many people are still dealing with problems from the previous year and with the COVID-19 pandemic job losses, many families fell behind on rent and mortgage payments.

The California Mortgage Relief Program received $1 billion from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act Homeowners Assistance Fund. This act assisted qualified homeowners who fell behind on their housing or property tax payments due to pandemic-related financial hardships.  

To qualify for the relief program, residents have to fall into one of the two categories and meet the chosen category’s criteria. 

The first option is the Mortgage Relief program, which grants up to $80,000 to homeowners behind on mortgage payments.  

The qualifications for the mortgage relief program are that homeowners must have faced a Qualified Financial Hardship due to COVID-19 after Jan 21, 2020. The homeowner mortgage/loan servicer must be in the California Mortgage Relief Program. The combined income of all household members 18 and over is at or below 150% of the Area Median Income. Homeowners cannot have cash or assets (excluding savings in a retirement account) that are equal to or greater than the relief funds needed.

For mortgage relief, homeowners must be at least two payments past-due by December 1, 2022, that are currently delinquent. Mortgage past due amount can not exceed $80,000 at the time of application submission. 

Also, homeowners are only allowed to own and live in a home or condo permanently affixed manufactured home or property with up to four units.

To qualify for the $20,000 property tax relief, you must have faced Qualified Financial Hardship due to COVID-19 after Jan 21, 2020. A combined income of all household members 18 and over is at or below 150% of the Area Median Income, and homeowners cannot have cash or assets on hand (excluding savings in a retirement account) that are equal to or greater than the relief funds needed. 

The max properties an owner is allowed for property tax relief follow the same rules as the mortgage relief program. Also, to qualify for property tax assistance, the homeowner must be at least one payment past due by May 31, 2022.

Linda Jackson,  executive director of Inland Empire Resource Center, warns people about the scamming that is being run on homeowners looking for loan services. ” I have found that people have been scammed by telemarketers telling them their loans were sold and they don’t have to call their original lender. This led to them losing the funds provided to them,” Jackson said as she explained the importance of staying informed with the correct information. 

“This program is free, and if anyone claims to charge for an application, hang up on them immediately. Many clients have lost money, and I want to spread the word, so future clients and applicants do not get scammed.” Jackson said.

For more information about the program and to apply, visit https://tinyurl.com/4amnjv7u. 

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