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Mortgage assistance deadline looms

Homeowners may lose unemployment benefits Saturday

Staff Writer

Main qualifications:

• Approved to receive or receiving unemployment benefits

• Annual income 120 percent or less of $63,300 for family of four

• Mortgage payment more than 31 percent of income

• Obtained mortgage on or before Jan. 1, 2009

• Mortgage loan is delinquent or at risk of imminent default

• Current unpaid principle balance of first-lien mortgage loan is not greater than $729,750

• Home is owned and occupied in California

• Servicer is one of over 100 participating in program

Main exclusions:

• Loan is in foreclosure

• Homeowner is in active bankruptcy

• Unemployment is result of voluntary resignation

• Homeowner becomes re-employed

• Homeowner is actively being reviewed for TAP benefits

Source: Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Summary Guidelines, Keep Your Home California

BARSTOW • Barstow homeowners who currently receive extended unemployment benefits could see their benefits end Saturday unless President Obama and Congress intervene.

The last payable weekend ending date for all federal extensions of Unemployment Insurance in California is Dec. 29 under current federal law, according to the California Employment Development Department website.

This could be troubling news for unemployed Barstow homeowners who have already exhausted their 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits and were relying on their extension to get by. Yet, the state-managed $875 million Keep Your Home California’s Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program could provide a bastion of hope.

Under the program, eligible unemployed homeowners who are receiving California EDD unemployment benefits can get upward of $3,000 per month of mortgage assistance for a maximum of nine months, according to the KYHC website.

However, for those whose benefits will be ending, the application deadline is Saturday.

“By keeping families in their homes, we can help stabilize neighborhoods and communities,” Claudia Cappio, the executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, said in a press release unveiling enhancements to KYHC back in May.

Barstow currently maintains a 13.8 percent unemployment rate — sixth highest of all incorporated cities in San Bernardino County and above the county average of 11 percent, according to data from the California Employment Development Department.

In July, the New York Times spotlighted San Bernardino County, which had cities with some of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates. According to RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosed and defaulted properties, the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area had one in every 73 homes receive a foreclosure filing in the third quarter of 2012.

To qualify for KYHC’s Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program, homeowners must, among other criteria, be approved to receive or be receiving unemployment benefits and have an income of 120 percent or less of the Area Median Income for a family of four, which is $63,300 for San Bernardino County, per the Department of Housing and Community Development. Also, homeowners must have a mortgage payment that is more than 31 percent of their income. Homeowners must, additionally, have obtained their mortgage on or before Jan. 1, 2009.

Homeowners are excluded from consideration if, among other things, their property is in default, they are in active bankruptcy, their loan is in foreclosure or if they become re-employed at any time.

A full list of the qualifications, exclusions and program description can be downloaded on the KYHC website at

For more information or to apply, call KYHC at (888) 954-5337.

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