$1 billion in mortgage relief funds are now available to California homeowners who have fallen behind on housing payments or property taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds do not have to be paid back and the program is free.
The California Mortgage Relief Program is funded by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeowners Assistance Fund. It was designed to provide assistance to qualified homeowners who have fallen behind on their housing payments or property tax payments due to pandemic-related financial hardships.
The program is provided to homeowners through the CalHFA Homeowner Relief Corporation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the California Mortgage Relief Program?
The California Mortgage Relief Program is providing financial assistance to get caught up on past-due mortgages or property taxes to help homeowners who have a mortgage, a reverse mortgage, or who are mortgage-free. Using $1 billion in federal funds, the grants help homeowners who have had a financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Assistance provided through this program is not a loan and does not need to be paid back.
Why is the program important?
The California Mortgage Relief Program offers financial assistance to eligible homeowners via a one-time grant that does not have to be paid back. This means homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage or property tax payments due to pandemic-related financial hardships can get caught up. Homeowners who are approved for these grants should talk with a tax professional about any impact this may have on their income taxes.
Who is eligible?
Whether they have a mortgage, a reverse mortgage, or are mortgage-free, the program is open to all California homeowners who meet the eligibility requirements. Homeowners may be eligible if they:
- Missed at least two mortgage payments and are currently past due; or
- Owe for unpaid property taxes (whether paid directly to your county or as part of your mortgage payment); or
- Have a reverse mortgage and owe your servicer for past due property tax and/or insurance
All applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Household income is at or below the county income limit (150% of their county’s Area Median Income, based on federal limits set for this program);
- Own a single-family home, condo or permanently affixed manufactured home in California; and
- Experienced a pandemic-related financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020 – either a loss of income or increase in household expenses
Mortgage assistance requirements:
- Missed two or more mortgage payments before June 30, 2022, and are currently delinquent; and
- Past due amount must be $80,000 or less at the time of application
Property tax assistance requirements (if paid directly to your county tax collector):
- Missed at least one property tax payment before May 31, 2022
My application was denied. However, I believe I may now qualify based on recent program updates. Can I re-apply?
The California Mortgage Relief Program encourages applicants who were previously denied to re-apply if they believe they meet the updated eligibility criteria. Applicants can re-apply by submitting a new application at CaMortgageRelief.org.
What is considered a financial hardship?
For the California Mortgage Relief Program, a financial hardship is either a reduced income or increased living expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of living expenses are medical expenses, more people living in the household, or costs for utility services.
What information does an applicant need to provide?
A sample list of documents to gather before completing the application includes:
- Mortgage statement
- Bank statements
- Utility bill
- Income documentation (i.e. paystubs, tax returns, or unemployment document)
Depending on their unique circumstances, some applicants will have to provide different kinds of information as well.
How much assistance is available to me?
For homeowners with a mortgage or reverse mortgage, funding covers the full past-due amount owed to their lender, up to a maximum of $80,000 per household. Homeowners who are delinquent by more than $80,000 at the time they submit their application would not be eligible for assistance.
For homeowners who pay their property taxes directly to their county, grants fund the past-due amount that is owed to their county tax collector, up to $20,000 per household.
The assistance provided through the California Mortgage Relief Program is not a loan and does not need to be paid back. Homeowners receiving these one-time grants should talk with a tax professional about any impact this may have on their income taxes.
This program provides a one-time grant only. Once a household/property is funded, it is no longer eligible for additional assistance from the California Mortgage Relief Program.
Am I still eligible if I already received COVID-19-related government assistance?
How do I find out what my AMI (Area Median Income) is?
You can find out if you meet income requirements by using the AMI calculator found on the home page of the California Mortgage Relief Program website. Homeowners are eligible for assistance from the program if their household income is at or below the county income limit (150% of their county’s AMI, based on federal limits set for this program). The AMI varies by county and household size.
How are income limits for the program determined?
If my application questionnaire result says that I am not eligible, can I still fill out an application?
If the application questionnaire says you don’t qualify for assistance, we recommend that you contact a HUD-certified housing counselor at 1-800-569-4287 to discuss other options available to you. However, if you feel you have entered information incorrectly or if your circumstances change, you may try the Eligibility tool again with the corrected information.
Where can I complete my application?
You can check to see if you are eligible to apply for the California Mortgage Relief Program by visiting CaMortgageRelief.org and clicking the “Apply Now” button. Homeowners who meet the pre-screening criteria may complete an application for funding. Application assistance is available through the program’s Contact Center at 1-888-840-2594.
Where can I get assistance for filling out the application?
Application assistance is available through the program’s Contact Center at 1-888-840-2594.
Is there a deadline to apply?
How long will it take to review my application?
Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic, we anticipate a high volume of applications. Completed applications with all required documentation may take several weeks from the date of application submission until a qualified applicant receives the approved funding. The California Mortgage Relief Program is committed to helping homeowners as quickly as possible.
Once my application is approved, how long will it take to receive financial assistance?
My application was denied. Is there an appeals process? Can I re-apply?
If your application for mortgage or reverse mortgage assistance was denied, you may submit an appeal by filling out the questionnaire in the Application Intake Portal. The questionnaire will determine whether you may move forward with your appeal.
If your application for property tax assistance was denied, you may appeal the decision by emailing [email protected]. Please include any documentation to support your appeal.
Once you submit your appeal, it will be reviewed and you will be contacted if more information is needed or once a decision has been made regarding your appeal.
You may also reapply for the program by submitting a new application. You can submit a new application by visiting CaMortgageRelief.org and clicking Apply Now.
My application was denied because it was indicated that I am no longer behind on my mortgage payments. However, I believe that I am behind. Why was this determination made?
Eligible homeowners must be at least two payments behind on their mortgage two months prior to June 30, 2022, and currently past due. If an applicant’s home loan is current as a result of assistance offered by their loan company — including a loan modification, deferral or partial claim — or the homeowner pays the past due amount, the applicant would no longer be eligible for the program. The action of a loan being sold or transferred to another company does not affect eligibility. If, during that transaction, the new lender brings the loan current due to an agreed-upon loan modification or deferment, then the loan would not qualify because it is no longer past due.
We encourage homeowners who do not qualify for this program but need help figuring out their options, including other assistance programs, to contact a HUD-certified housing counselor at 1-800-569-4287.
Can I apply again if my application was canceled for taking more than 30 days to complete it?
Is there a paper application I can fill out and mail in?
Which languages is the application available in?
If I don’t have a scanner, can I use my phone to take a picture of my Social Security Card and other documents and upload them to my application?
If I cannot finish my application at one time, can I resume it later?
Once I finish my application, will I still be able to access it if I need to make changes?
I have already received a grant from the California Mortgage Relief Program. Would I be able to receive additional assistance if I become eligible again?
The California Mortgage Relief Program provides a one-time grant only. Once a household/property is funded, it is no longer eligible for additional assistance from the program.