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Ana-G

Homeowner Ana G.: Keep Your Home California helped during the most traumatic time in her life

Ana, originally from the Philippines, lost her husband in February 2013.

The single mom of a 6-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter says living on a single income with two children is challenging. Ana needed help, and that’s when she turned to Keep Your Home California.

Ana applied and was approved for Keep Your Home California’s Principal Reduction Program. The free mortgage-assistance program funded $43,000 to pay down Ana’s principal balance, which helped lower her monthly mortgage payments.

“It means that I can still afford to keep our lifestyle, instead of moving into an apartment,” she says.

Ana says keeping the house was a way for her children to remember their father. The family has lived in the home since 2005.

“Keeping the house was important for us,” says Ana, who lives in Northern California. “The house has a lot of memories, especially of their dad.”

The Principal Reduction Program provides as much as $100,000 in mortgage assistance for financially strapped homeowners. The program can save homeowners hundreds of dollars every month in mortgage payments.

“Moving out of the house would have been another traumatic change for my kids,” says Ana, whose mortgage servicer is Residential Credit Solutions.

Thanks to Keep Your Home California, she continues to watch her two children play sports in the backyard.

“I hope people are aware of this program,” Ana says. “It really helps you keep your house.”

Frank-H.

During the past dozen years, Frank H. has battled cancer, diabetes that caused him to lose his foot, the death of his parents and his longtime employer closed the plant where he worked and moved operations to Mexico.

Despite the challenges and difficulties, Frank feels blessed when he thinks of his family and friends, especially a housing counselor who introduced him to Keep Your Home California. He is also evidence that good things often happen to those who help others.

“I have a large family, and they’ve always been a big help,” says Frank, who often watches his nephews and nieces – and sometimes even their children — at his Fresno home. “My sister and brother often come over and bring me dinner.”

But he almost lost his home several months ago.

Frank was a manager of a door manufacturing company in Fresno when he lost his foot to diabetes in 2001, but he kept working. Several years later, the company closed the local plant and moved to Mexico, leaving Frank – and many others — without work. Then, he was diagnosed with cancer that required chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Frank was approved for disability and still had health coverage because he paid $600 per month through his former employer. But even with health coverage, his medical bills were too much and prompted him to look at refinancing, a possible fix to his financial hardship.

“I tried to refinance, but they weren’t willing to restructure the loan,” says Frank, adding that he had multiple mortgage servicers during one year.

And as his mortgage servicers kept changing – making refinancing impossible – his medical bills kept arriving in the mail.

“My house was underwater, I just couldn’t make it,” Frank says. “I got behind on all of my bills. I had to choose every month what bills to pay.”

Frank had a longtime friend help him with some of his bills. And a chance meeting helped him lower his mortgage principal.

He was completing more refinance applications when he volunteered to help the needy in Fresno. His good deed led to good fortune, meeting housing counselor Elba Morales who had a booth at the event to help financially strapped homeowners. Morales was at the event on behalf of the Fresno Housing Authority, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency that partners with Keep Your Home California to help homeowners apply for the free program.

A few months later, Morales was digging through her documents looking for homeowners who could get help from Keep Your Home California and she remembered Frank.

“She went through the files in her closet to see who would be a good candidate” for the mortgage-assistance program, says Frank. “She knew that I was going through a rough time. She told me exactly what I needed to do. She took my hand, step by step.”

Frank applied for the Principal Reduction Program, which offers as much as $100,000 to homeowners, in late November. He was approved for the program two months later, and his principal was reduced by $47,000.

“Just taking that chunk off the principal, that’s a real Godsend,” says Frank, whose monthly mortgage payment dropped from $926 to $624.”It’s a lot of help to me, it’s a lifesaver.”

And that’s saying a lot for the cancer survivor who continues to deal with numerous health issues.

michelle_v

As a full-time student, physical therapist assistant and homeowner, Michelle was nearly overwhelmed.

Between rising tuition and a mortgage payment that had just increased, she was worried that a default was just around the corner. Decreasing property values left her in a position where she was unable to qualify for existing refinance programs.

Being proactive by nature, Michelle worked with a local nonprofit counselor to explore other potential options and learned about a principal reduction program being offered through Keep Your Home California. “I didn’t want to wait,” Michelle says. “I’d never been late on my mortgage payment because I knew it would just add more stress to my life. I knew I wanted to keep my home – walking away just wasn’t an option for me.”

After her over-the-phone counseling session with Keep Your Home California, Michelle was quickly qualified for a principal reduction of $50,000. Paying down her principal meant restructuring Michelle’s mortgage payment to a level she could easily afford. “I never had credit card debt,” says Michelle. “But I was living paycheck to paycheck. With both my school costs and mortgage payments increasing, I wasn’t sure how I would be able to continue to make ends meet.  Now I not only have a mortgage payment I can afford, I also have enough money to take some extra classes and get my degree sooner.”

Adding a principal reduction component to the Keep Your Home California suite of programs was a necessity according to California Housing Finance Agency executive director, Claudia Cappio. “Property values have decreased significantly in California, leaving many borrowers with so much negative equity they are not able to take advantage of the numerous refinance programs that are already available. The Principal Reduction Program was specifically created to help homeowners who are serious about living in their homes and creating longer term stability for their families by giving them an opportunity to qualify for a more sustainable modification. It certainly isn’t a panacea, but for a lot of families who don’t have any other options available to them, we believe this is a good and fair solution.”

It was certainly the answer Michelle Vera was looking for. “For me, this is a permanent solution to my mortgage problems.”

 

Sherry C

Sherry C.’s daughter, a mortgage professional, encouraged her to apply for Keep Your Home California.

But it wasn’t until she saw a Keep Your Home California commercial on television that Sherry picked up the phone and applied for the free mortgage-assistance program.

“I was at my wits ends, I’ve been in my home for 35 years and I thought I was going to lose it,” says Sherry, who lives in the Sacramento region. “I was in tears. I paid every payment on time.”

But the retired state employee was like many homeowners in the state, she had refinanced her home and then the market tanked, leaving her with a severely underwater mortgage, as much as $300,000.

She applied for the Principal Reduction Program, which offers as much as $100,000 to help homeowners who owe more than their home is worth bring their outstanding mortgage balance closer to their homes’ current value.

Sherry applied in late October and was approved a few weeks later.

“They were very professional,” Sherry says of her experience with the counselors at Keep Your Home California. “Everyone was very respectful, cooperative and knowledgeable.”

Keep Your Home California dramatically cut her principal and reduced her monthly mortgage, from $1,220 per month to $805.

For the retiree on a fixed income, the monthly savings is a huge help.

“When the lady called, I started crying, my prayers were answered,” says the mother of three adult daughters. “I was between a rock and a hard spot, Keep Your Home California saved my life.”

curtis_h

Sometimes being a pack rat pays off. Just ask Curtis H.

Curtis received some information about Keep Your Home California almost a year ago.

‘I didn’t even read it at the time,” says Curtis, who tucked away the information though he doesn’t really know why. “I guess I’m kind of a pack rat.”

Several months – and a divorce – later, the information proved valuable. It’s been the difference between losing and keeping his home in Lincoln, about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento.

“I knew it was too much money alone,” says Curtis, who lost his former wife’s income and was forced to make the mortgage payment alone. “I took over all of the bills, and I wasn’t able to afford all my payments.

“I had absolutely no cash,” says Curtis, a construction industry worker. “If I had the car break down, it would have to be on the VISA (card).”

Curtis applied for the principal reduction program in June, hoping to cut his monthly mortgage payment and the money owed on his new home.

“It was easy, it really blew me away,” says Curtis, who adds the biggest challenge was writing the hardship letter, detailing his financial challenges. But after a quick search online, he found a few hardship letters that served as his guide. “The paperwork was easy.”

Curtis says the determination is well worth the effort. Keep Your Home California approved his principal reduction application this summer, saving him about $132 per month.

“It doesn’t sound like a substantial amount, but it was enough money,” Curtis says. “I won a raffle, a prize.”

The state-run program also dropped his principal from $230,000 to $209,000.

“Technically, I got a lot more than $21,000” in principal reduction, says Curtis, who crunched the numbers and figures his overall savings during the lifetime of his mortgage was much higher. “It’s a huge difference. It was a miracle.”

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Based on your responses you do not qualify for a Keep Your Home California program, but we still want to help! Find out about the other options that are available to you by clicking the link below.

Don’t worry, other programs are available

Don't worry, other programs are available.

Although you do not qualify for a Keep Your Home California program, your mortgage Servicer or housing counselor from a HUD-approved agency may have other options that are available to you. These options include:

1) Federal Mortgage Relief

  • Load Modification
  • Refinance
  • Short sale assistance
  • Deed in lieu help

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2) Your Mortgage Servicer

  • Forbearance
  • Repayment plan
  • Short sale
  • Cash for keys

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