Great summary by the California Department of Housing and Community Development

HCD Blog

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The California Homeowner Bill of Rights takes effect on January 1, 2013 to ensure fair lending and borrowing practices for California homeowners. The legislation was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown in 2012.

The laws are designed to guarantee basic fairness and transparency for homeowners in the foreclosure process. Key provisions include:

  • Restriction on dual track foreclosure: Mortgage servicers are restricted from advancing the foreclosure process if the homeowner is working on securing a loan modification. When a homeowner completes an application for a loan modification, the foreclosure process is essentially paused until the complete application has been fully reviewed.
  • Guaranteed single point of contact: Homeowners are guaranteed a single point of contact as they navigate the system and try to keep their homes – a person or team at the bank who knows the facts of their case, has their paperwork and can get them a decision…

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Five Questions for the Presidential Candidates About the Foreclosure Crisis

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager, ForeclosureHelpSCC

  1. What is your position on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and allowing principal reductions for homeowners?   If elected or re-elected, would you consider changing this policy so they could allow principal reductions?  (In addition to principal reductions for Fannie and Freddie Loans through Keep Your Home California).
  2. Would you push for extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act which is set to expire in December 2012?
  3. Will you push to extend the Independent Foreclosure Review (and potentially the foreclosure refund under the Attorney General settlement) deadline so that more people can learn about it?
  4. Is there anything you would change with current system of modifications, short-sales, and foreclosures?
  5. Do you think we have put adequate policies in place to prevent another mortgage meltdown and foreclosure crisis?

ForeclosureHelpSCC is sponsoring a FREE foreclosure resource fair here in San Jose on October 20th at Overfelt High School from 9am to 3pm..  Come meet with a HUD-approved housing counselor, learn about your options, and make a plan.  Visit our website or blog post for more information, or you can call us to register: 408-293-6000.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.  Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Free Foreclosure Resource Fair: October 20th at Overfelt High School

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager at ForeclosureHelpSCC

Do you live in Santa Clara County?  Are you struggling to make your mortgage payments?  Has your income gone down?  Would you like to speak with somebody who knows about the mortgage programs and settlements and can give you honest advice?

If you would like to get all of this information in one place, then you should come to a free Foreclosure Resource Fair here in San Jose on October 20th, from 9am to 3pm at Overfelt High School.

At the fair, you can meet one-on-one with a HUD certified Foreclosure Counselor who knows the system.  They can help you find solutions and develop a plan forward.  You will learn about which programs can help you, and scams that can hurt you.

Tax and legal experts at the event will give presentations and we’ll also have a free shredding truck for you to safely shred your old documents.

Assemblymember Jim Beall, who represents the 24th District for California, will also speak about recent legislation to address the foreclosure crisis here in California.  His office is helping to organize the event, and Assemblymember Beall explains, “In this tough economy, many families are living from paycheck to paycheck, struggling to meet their mortgage. Homeowners facing default who attend the foreclosure prevention fair can get effective counseling and learn how new laws passed by the Legislature can protect them.’’

Jeffrey F. Rosen,the District Attorney for Santa Clara County states “Real estate fraud, and particularly foreclosure rescue scams have a devastating impact in our communities.  We are proud to partner with ForeclosureHelpSCC and other non-profits to protect homeowners from real estate fraud, and hold con artists accountable for their misdeeds.”

Dr. John Porter, the Superintendent of Franklin McKinley School District and its Children’s Initiative,explained the impact of foreclosures on children and neighborhoods:  “I have seen how the stress and disruption of foreclosure hinders a child’s performance in school and affects their classmates.  And foreclosures take their toll on the whole neighborhood with the lack of income and resource that make children feel less safe and secure.”

Time and space with a housing counselor is limited, so if you would like to meet with a counselor, please call ahead of time to RSVP.  You can call (408) 293-6000 to reserve your space.

WHEN: Saturday October 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Overfelt High School, 1835 Cunningham Ave., San Jose, CA.

WHO:  ForeclosureHelpSCC is a consortium of non-profits serving the community and led by the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County with Asian, Inc., Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Neighborhood Housing Services, Project Sentinel, SurePath, and volunteers from Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, funded by the cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale. Other non-profits and banks will be there to offer information

WHY:    In July more than 1,000 families in Santa Clara County were impacted by a foreclosure proceeding, per Realty Trac. The foreclosure crisis may have passed its peak but a statewide study by the Center for Responsible Lending found, “Over 50% of existing single-family homes sold in California in 2011 were short sales or bank-owned foreclosures. ‘Lost Ground, 2011‘ found we are only about halfway through the foreclosure crisis.”

MORE INFORMATION: Please call the ForeclosureHelpSCC office: 408-293-6000, visit our website for the foreclosure resource fair, or email us: sean@housingtrustscc.org.

Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, Part of Keep Your Home California: How Does It Work?

By Aurora Olivares, Housing Counselor at Project Sentinel, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC

Have you heard of the Keep Your Home California program? (KYHC) Are you unsure how the program works to help struggling homeowners avoid preventable foreclosures? A few homeowners I’ve worked with here in the Bay Area are good examples of how Keep Your Home California works.

Are you like Michelle?

I recently was contacted by a woman who was laid off two months ago. She received a flyer from her local EDD office about the Keep Your Home California program. Michelle had used up her savings and was concerned about her ability to pay her mortgage while unemployed. I met with her the following day to go over the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance (UMA) program. Michelle met all the requirements in order to apply for the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program and her application was submitted the same day.

Michelle kept in contact with the Keep Your Home California team and provided all documents needed for the eligibility review. Michelle’s review went smoothly and she was approved for the UMA program. Michelle was approved to have KYHC make her payments for up to up to 9 months while she looked to secure new employment and had KYHC administer her first mortgage installment before her payment was due, helping her preserve her credit.

Here are some quick facts about the Keep Your Home California program:

Your lender/servicer must participate in the program in order to qualify for the Keep Your Home California funds. Each lender/servicer can participate in as little as one or in all four of the Keep Your Home California programs.

Is my bank or servicer participating in Keep Your Home California?
Check this list: Servicers Participating in Your Home California

There are 4 award programs:

  • UMA-Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program: Is designed to assist unemployed homeowners who are receiving EDD benefits.
  • MRAP-Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program: This program can help by reinstating past due payments.
  • PRP-Principal Reduction Program: Homeowners who owe more than their property is worth, may be eligible for a principle reduction.
  • TAP-Transitional Assistance Program: Provides a payment of up to $5,000 to help homeowners, who cannot retain their home transition into new housing.

The Keep Your Home California program applies to primary mortgages in first position only. Second mortgages or home equity lines of credit are not eligible for Keep Your Home California programs. The property must be owner occupied and located in the state of California. The loan balance on the first mortgage is below $729,750. The homeowner(s) cannot be in bankruptcy while applying for Keep Your Home California Program.

Will you be the next success story?
To find out more about these four programs, or to set up an appointment with a housing counselor who can discuss these programs with you, contact ForeclosureHelpSCC by calling us at (408) 293-6000. You can also email us at help@foreclosurehelpscc.org or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org

Maggie’s Five Rules for Working with Your Bank or Servicer

By Maggie McCarthy, Housing Counselor at Project Sentinel, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC.

1.Calling Your Bank or Servicer: When you call your bank or servicer, always be prepared with information the lender may ask from you. They will probably ask for your:

  • Loan Information; loan number, mortgage payment amount, property taxes, insurance.
  • The servicer or bank will also ask about your income, both gross- (before taxes), and net (after taxes).
  • The servicer or bank will also want to know about your other household expenses, including utilities, food, transportation, insurance, credit card payments, and any other debt payments that you have to make (for example, car loans, school loans).

2. Hardship: When discussing your hardship with your lender, be clear and to the point. They want to know the cause of your hardship, any actions you may have taken to help yourself (for example, cut out cable or reduced other bills), and what kind of help you are looking for from your lender. For example, if you were unemployed for three months but now have a new job (and can pay your mortgage), then you could ask them to add the past due amount to the balance of your mortgage.

3. Documents: If you are seeking a modification, remember that you are essentially asking them to write a whole new loan. While modifications can take time, there are some steps you can take to make the process go faster:

  • Provide all documentation requested;
  • Double-check that you have completed and signed all forms that they are requiring;
  • Make sure all of your supporting documents are up to date. You may have to update some documents like your pay-stubs every month.
  • If you write the loan number on every page of any documents that you are sending to the bank or servicer, it reduces the chance your documents will get lost.

4. Follow-Up: Once you submit all of the documents, follow up with your lender every week to 10 days on status of your request, that also shows that you are very interested in resolving the problem. Start a notebook, and make sure you write the name and ID number of the person you talk to each time, and what you discussed. While this can be a frustrating process, the bank person may be able to help you, so be nice to them, and you may even try and make friends with them. You never know how much power they have to help move your case forward.

5. Other Options: There are other options and programs available to resolve your housing problem, so ask your lender for other options available if you do not qualify for a loan modification. Always ask questions and never agree to anything that you don’t understand or sign any documents that you don’t understand. If you are being offered something, ask if they can put it in writing.

Do you have any tips you have found helpful based on working with your bank or servicer?

Remember: You don’t have to go through this process alone. If you have questions, give ForeclosureHelpSCC a phone call and we can set up an appointment to meet with you: 408-293-6000.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org