~ Executive Director's Message
~ New Programs
~ Preservation Loan Program
~ Keep Your Home California Program is Still Needed by Many Struggling Homeowners
~ Staff Honored
~ Tips on Keeping Warm
~ Board Meeting Notice
Executive Director's Message
With the coming of Autumn, the California fire season is winding down. The Rim Fire in Stanislaus County burned more than 250,000 acres, with more than 4,000 fire personnel working in nightmarish conditions to reign in nature's fury. Hundreds of homes were saved from the fire's path, which only emphasizes how precarious housing can be. Our thanks go to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to preserve people's homes.
The past year, however has also brought some good news for California. Our state has added more than 236,000 jobs over the last year. Home prices are rising at double-digit rates. And fewer people are out of work.
Hot on the heels of that good news, CalHFA is very excited to be introducing several new loan products, which may offer more Californian's a path to responsible homeownership. You can read about these new programs here.
Our Multifamily division is also working hard, and you can read here about some of the excellent projects being funded with the Preservation Loan Program.
In addition to the above, CalHFA is in the midst of a transition of its own while we work towards carrying out Governor Brown's reorganization plan. Collaboration and some integration with the Department of Housing and Community Development continues to move forward, with several divisions combining forces to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
This process will continue for at least the next year as we identify areas that could benefit from collaboration, and areas where combining forces might not be possible, whether for fiduciary, administrative or other reasons.
Whatever the case, come fire, sleet or snow, CalHFA will keep on working to create new affordable housing in California so our residents have a place to call home. I look forward to working with you to make that happen.
The California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP) and Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (MCC) have been the mainstays of CalHFA's Single Family Lending division for the past couple years, and have been immensely successful: FY 13 saw more than 6,000 CHDAP loans purchased.
The housing market has shifted, however, and the timing seemed right to return to the first mortgage lending arena to help more California families looking for their first home.
August 26th saw the introduction of two new programs, and the reintroduction of a classic, to strengthen and complement CalHFA's existing portfolio: CalPLUS, an FHA mortgage and the Extra Credit Teacher Program.
CalPLUS℠ is an FHA-insured, 30-year fixed mortgage that includes a special zero interest junior loan for as much as 3.5 percent of the loan amount. CalPLUS includes the Zero Interest Program (ZIP), a down payment loan that does not have to be repaid until the home is sold, refinanced or paid in full. ZIP is only available in combination with the CalPLUS loan.
CalPLUS can also be combined with other programs, including the California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP), which provides up to 3 percent of the purchase price or appraised value.
A family taking out a $200,000 mortgage, for example, could receive up to $13,000 in down payment assistance through the ZIP benefit of CalPLUS combined with a CHDAP loan.
The CalHFA FHA is a 30-year, FHA-insured mortgage for buyers who are looking for a lower rate, and may have saved more towards the down payment. CalHFA remains committed to responsible lending, so both loans require homebuyer counseling and a two-year home warranty.
CalHFA is also thrilled at the return of the Extra Credit Teacher Program (ECTP). The ECTP offers up to a $15,000 deferred payment, junior loan for eligible teachers, administrators, classified employees and staff members working in high priority schools (API statewide ranks 1-5), county schools or continuation schools throughout the state. Additionally, the ECTP offers a conditional, forgivable interest feature.
As part of its commitment to responsible lending, CalHFA requires that borrowers complete a financial education program. Borrowers must also meet limits on income and home values. In Los Angeles County, for example, the income limit for a family of four is $73,600; in Sacramento County, a family of four could earn up to $86,350.
Preservation Loan Program
CalHFA's Preservation Loan Program is making great strides in improving existing affordable housing across the state of California. The program helps preserve affordability by providing acquisition, rehabilitation and permanent financing for multifamily housing projects. Participating multifamily property owners and developers agree to extend the affordability for up to 55 years and enhancing the property's energy efficiency and longevity through improvements and upgrades.
There are currently seven projects undergoing active rehabilitation with another ten in the application phase. Here are some samples:
Century Village, prior to current rehabilitation efforts
Vintage at Kendall Apartments provides comfort and affordability to seniors
Coronado Place contains 41 affordable units in Los Angeles' MacArthur Park neighborhood
The Preservation Loan Program currently has approximately 700 units under construction, with another 640 units in the pipeline. CalHFA looks forward to continuing its work to preserve affordable housing, making sure that residents of California have a place to call home.
Keep Your Home California Program is Still Needed by Many Struggling Homeowners
California's economy is improving; fewer people are out of work and home prices are rising at double-digit rates. Many California homeowners are feeling less pressure than they did five years ago.
Even though homeowners' struggles are no longer front page news, there are thousands of families who are still suffering, and their financial challenges are often compounded by unaffordable mortgage payments.
And Keep Your Home California is still there for families like these.
In fact, more than 29,000 homeowners have received assistance through one or more of the free Keep Your Home California programs.
One of these homeowners is Debra, who enjoyed a reduction in her principal balance from $280,000 to $138,000 when she coupled a servicer-approved loan modification with the Principal Reduction Program. Another is David, who had his monthly mortgage payments covered after losing his position with an audio visual company by qualifying for the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program. Yet another is Wayne, who was approved for the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program and claims the $25,000 he received game him "some breathing room."
Perhaps you or someone you know could also be helped through one of these Keep Your Home California programs:
- Unemployment Mortgage Assistance
Mortgage payment assistance of up to $3,000 per month, for as long as twelve months, is available for unemployed homeowners who are collecting benefits from California's Employment Development Department (EDD).
- Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program
Homeowners who suffered a financial hardship, have recovered, but have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to the hardship may qualify for up to $25,000 to help them catch up on the past due amount. The homeowner must demonstrate they are now in a position to make their monthly payments going forward.
Principal Reduction Program
Homeowners who are suffering from a financial hardship and owe more than their home is worth can qualify for financial assistance to help pay down the principal balance of a mortgage loan. Up to $100,000 in principal reduction is available to help homeowners obtain a more affordable, sustainable monthly payment.
- Transition Assistance Program
Homeowners who have simply run out of options and are not able to remain in the homes can qualify for up to $5,000 to help smooth the transition to other housing if they agree to a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.
Full program details, eligibility requirements, success stories, a short introduction video, plus reports and statistics are all available on the Keep Your Home California website at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org or www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org. Applying for assistance is as simple as calling toll free, 888.954.KEEP (5337).
Yes, our state's economic health is improving, but for those families who still need mortgage assistance, Keep Your Home California is there, and will be for years to come.
On August 21, CalHFA's Ashish Kumar was honored at the 2013 Government Technology Conference Best of California Awards for Outstanding IT Support and Service. Ashish was recognized for his dedicated efforts to provide outstanding IT services and support, while upholding the highest standards of public service.
Congratulations on a job well done, for reminding us that support staff are important for affordable housing also.
Tips on Keeping Warm
Although the days are still warm, the nights will be getting chill. The onset of fall means higher heating costs, and the California Energy Commission has some tips to help keep those heating bills manageable. The first few on this list cost nothing to implement, so try them out and see your meter slow down.
- Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-70 degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.
- Open your drapes and let the sun heat your home. Close them again at sundown to help keep heat inside.
- In a house with central heat, fireplaces pull warm air out of the house and send it up the chimney. When not in use, make sure the damper is closed.
- Turn off lights. Unplug that spare refrigerator - it adds 10-25 percent to your electric bill. Turn off kitchen and bath fans - they can blow out a house full of heated air.
- Take shorter showers. Cutting your showering time in half will reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent.
- Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer. Using cold water reduces your washer's energy use by 75 percent.
- Replace or clean furnace filters once a month.
- Consider increasing your insulation to up to R-38 to reduce heating costs by 5 to 25 percent.
- Caulk leaks around windows and doors. If you find gaps at the point where pipes or vents go through the wall or floor, seal them up.
Board Meeting Notice
CalHFA's next Board Meeting will be on Tuesday, November 12. The meeting will be held at the Burbank Airport Marriott in Burbank, CA. All are welcome to attend; you can find the agenda on the CalHFA website.