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President’s Corner How to deal with financial hardships during holidays

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Kerry Suess

Posted: Friday, December 2, 2011 12:10 pm | Updated: 12:32 pm, Fri Dec 2, 2011.

Here we are already in December with the holidays fast approaching. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There is much to be thankful for regardless of our personal situation. I think almost all of us can look around at the circumstances of others and at least realize that things could be worse.

I know that realization has helped me through some difficult times in my life. Some of you might own your home and could be having trouble with your payments for one reason or another. If you don’t know what to do about it and aren’t quite ready to talk to someone, you might check out the website at www.keepyourhomecalifornia.com. If you own and occupy your home and have suffered a financial hardship, there is information on a number of different options that might best fit your situation. I will highlight some of them for you.

If you are currently unemployed and are receiving unemployment benefits you might qualify for the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMA). It is one of CalHFA MAC’s federally-funded programs developed to provide temporary financial assistance to eligible California homeowners who wish to remain in their homes but have suffered a loss of income due to unemployment. CalHFA MAC is partnering with financial institutions to directly provide program funds to subsidize an eligible homeowner’s mortgage payments. UMA provides mortgage payment assistance equal to the lesser of $3,000 per month or 100 percent of the PITI (principal, interest, tax, insurance) and any escrowed homeowner’s association dues or assessments, for up to nine (9) months, with the purpose of preventing avoidable foreclosures until such time that the homeowner retains employment sufficient to meet the demands of satisfying their regular mortgage payment.

The Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program (MRAP) is one of CalHFA MAC’s federally-funded programs developed to provide temporary financial assistance to eligible homeowners who wish to remain in their homes but are in imminent danger of losing their home to foreclosure. MRAP provides funds to assist income-qualified homeowners to help them cure their delinquent first mortgage loan arrearages, which may also include payments needed to reinstate their loans from foreclosure. The MRAP program will prevent avoidable foreclosures by helping homeowners reinstate their past due first mortgage loans. MRAP will also mitigate the need for large reinstatement dollars to be capitalized with remaining loan balance, and thus, broaden the population of homeowners who otherwise may not qualify for modification.

The Principal Reduction Program (PRP) is one of CalHFA MAC’s federally-funded programs developed with a goal to provide capital on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis with participating lenders to reduce over a three-year period the outstanding principal balances of qualifying properties with negative equity. PRP will provide monies to reduce the principal balance of the first mortgage loan for the purpose of establishing an appropriate level of debt for eligible homeowners with qualifying properties. A reduction in principal through PRP can achieve desired income ratios and affordability for a homeowner on the existing mortgage loan or can be used in conjunction with a loan modification.

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is one of CalHFA MAC’s federally-funded programs developed to provide eligible homeowners with transition assistance when it is determined that they can no longer afford their home. TAP will be used in conjunction with short sale and deed-in-lieu programs to help homeowners make a smooth transition to housing. Homeowners will be required to occupy and maintain the property until the home is sold or returned to the lender as negotiated. Program funds would be available on a one-time only basis up to $5,000 per household and can be used or layered with other CalHFA MAC HHF Programs. Funds will be sent to the servicer or homeowner after or in connection with the short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure closing. Funds are intended to help the homeowner secure new housing (e.g., rent, moving expenses, and security deposits) and will be available for transition assistance counseling services.

There are many resources available to California homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure. Throughout the state, housing organizations, lenders, counselors, nonprofit agencies, and others are sponsoring events where homeowners can learn about foreclosure prevention options and get immediate help connecting with loan servicer representatives and local housing counselors. These events are also excellent opportunities to improve budgeting and money management skills.

If you need some help, go online, talk to a counselor or ask your local Realtor for some help sorting through all the information. Don’t put it off. Make it an early resolution to get control of your finances and better yourself.

Questions or comments can be made to Kerry Suess at larpres2011@yahoo.com.

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