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Gov. Schwarzenegger to Expand Counseling Services to Homeowners at Risk of Foreclosure

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced California homeowners having trouble paying their mortgages will be eligible for counseling to avoid foreclosure as part of a new $8 million grant that will dramatically expand free counseling services to homeowners.
 
“These counseling services are one tool to help prevent the American dream from turning into a nightmare for thousands of Californians at risk of losing their homes,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “More than a half million Californians have subprime loans that will jump to higher rates over the next two years and many are in danger of foreclosure.  But there are options – your lender may be willing to work with you and counseling is available.  The key is: don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
 
The California Housing Finance Agency and HUD-approved counseling groups in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) were awarded the $8 million grant as part of a new federal program to help homeowners avoid foreclosures.
 
“The state of California is committed to leveraging all possible resources to help Californians weather the housing crisis,” said Theresa Parker, Executive Director of CalHFA. “We are proud to partner with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation and their counseling partners who have the experience and commitment to work with borrowers facing possible foreclosure.”
 
The grant to support California's foreclosure counseling intervention efforts was provided by funds—contingent upon a fully-executed grant agreement—from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program.  Approved by Congress in the FY’08 Consolidated Appropriations Bill, the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program is administered through a competitive application process by NeighborWorks® America, within guidelines defined by Congressional legislation.
 
“Mortgage counselors are critical to keeping Californians in their homes,” said Stan Keasling, chief executive officer of Rural Community Assistance Corporation.  “This grant will allow organizations to increase staffing so that they can meet the increasing demand for help.  Another critical piece to winning this grant was the matching funds raised by the California Reinvestment Coalition, and their advocacy increasing awareness of the magnitude of this problem.”
 
The counseling will be available to homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages or are in danger of defaulting on their mortgages. Homeowners in those situations can arrange counseling by contacting one of the counseling agencies in their area (full list attached) or visiting www.yourhome.ca.gov or www.rcac.org.
 
California has been impacted more than any other state by the national home foreclosure crisis, and the state has taken aggressive steps to help homeowners facing problems with their mortgages. To help those hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis, the Governor has:

•   Awarded $73 million for affordable housing projects in Proposition 1C and Proposition 46 funds to help more than 1,600 California families rent or purchase affordable housing and announced $5.6 million to help mortgage and banking industry workers laid off as a result of the subprime crisis make career transitions to high-demand jobs in other industries.

•  *Announced $69.5 million in permanent low-interest loans from the Proposition 1C housing bonds to jumpstart 14 affordable multi-family projects up and down the state, helping more than 1,000 California families and individuals realize the dream of an affordable rental home.

•  Announced more than $72 million in federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds to provide assistance to first-time homebuyers, reduce the number of bank owned homes and increase the number of rental properties.
   
•  Led a town hall meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson in Stockton to discuss help for homeowners facing foreclosure.

•  Joined the One California Foundation to announce a bridge loan fund for homeowners facing foreclosure in Oakland.
   
•  Launched a $1.2 million public awareness campaign to help educate homeowners about options that can help them avoid losing their homes to foreclosures.

•  Announced an agreement with major loan servicers to streamline the loan modification process for subprime borrowers living in their homes.         

•  Established the Interdepartmental Task Force on Non-traditional Mortgages to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the issues raised by subprime loans.

•  Signed legislation to increase protections for Californians who own or plan to purchase homes and to expand affordable housing opportunities.
The California Reinvestment Coalition estimates that half a million California mortgage borrowers will struggle to make payments on their home loans in the next two years.  In addition, mortgage foreclosures are already having dramatic negative impact on troubled borrowers’ neighborhoods and the tax base of localities and the state.
 
“Mortgage counselors help borrowers find solutions to their home loan problems,” Mr. Keasling said. Counseling agencies report being overwhelmed by homeowners seeking help from their agencies.
 
For more information on homeownership issues in California, please visit http://www.yourhome.ca.gov/ and the Spanish language version: http://www.sucasa.ca.gov/.
 

San Francisco Bay Area
ACORN Housing Corporation,  Oakland
ACORN Housing Corporation,  San Jose
Asian, Inc., San Francisco 
California Human Development Corporation, Santa Rosa
East Palo Alto Community Alliance & Neighborhood Development Organization (EPA CAN DO), East Palo Alto
Mission Economic Development Agency, San Francisco
Pacific Community Services,  Pittsburg
Project Sentinel, Inc., Sunnyvale
Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services, Incorporated,  Richmond
San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, San Francisco
 
Central Coast
Monterey County  Housing Alliance, Salinas
Peoples' Self-Help Housing Corporation, San Luis Obispo
 
Central Valley
ACORN Housing Corporation,  Fresno
ByDesign Financial Solutions,  Fresno, Merced,  Modesto, Stockton
Community Housing and Shelter Services, Modesto
Community Housing Council,  Fresno  
Community Services & Employment Training, Inc. (CSET), Visalia
Visionary Home Builders of California, Inc., Stockton
Project Sentinel, Inc., Sunnyvale
          
Los Angeles
ACORN Housing Corporation,  Los Angeles
ByDesign Financial Solutions,  Los Angeles, Granada Hills, Palmdale
Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services, Los Angeles
Multi-cultural Real Estate  Alliance for Urban Change, Los Angeles
Operation HOPE, Inc, Los Angeles
 
Northern California/Sacramento Valley
ACORN Housing Corporation,  Sacramento
ByDesign Financial Solutions, North Highlands, Redding
Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), Chico
Sacramento Home Loan  Counseling Center, Sacramento
 
San Diego
ACORN Housing Corporation,  San Diego
San Diego Home  Loan Counseling & Education Center, San Diego
 
Southern California
ACORN Housing Corporation,  San Bernardino
ByDesign Financial Solutions,  San Bernardino
Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC), Indio
Fair Housing Council of  Riverside County, Riverside
Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board, Upland
Operation HOPE, Inc, Los Angeles
 
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